08 May 2019

Oceansgate Phase 1
Plymouth, Devon


Project Details

Customer: Plymouth City Council

Value: £6.1 million

Duration: 63 weeks

Completion Date: Apr 2018

Contract Type: JCT Design & Build 2011

Procurement Type: Competitive tender - 2 stage

GIFA: 3,000m²

Framework Agreement: SCF



  • Winner – ‘Regeneration’ award, South West RICS Awards
  • Shortlisted – ‘Project of the Year’, Michelmores Property Awards
  • Shortlisted – 'John Bracey Building of the Year', 2018 The Building Forum Awards
  • Average CCS score 40
  • BREEAM Excellent
  • Supported 13 apprentices
  • Diverted 98.9% of waste from landfill


Project Summary

Customer Brief:

Oceansgate is the UK’s first marine enterprise zone, occupying a 35 hectare site on the southern edge of Devonport Dockyard, one of the largest naval dockyards in Europe. Delivering new opportunities and economic regeneration to a deprived area of Plymouth, Oceansgate has transformed derelict land into a site that aims to bring together marine-based businesses to create a world-class hub for industry. The development, designed by local architects, uses a layout and materials that reflect the area’s naval history.

The project features a three-storey office and two single-storey industrial terraces, arranged in parallel rows and offering nearly 3,000m² of office and industrial space with provision for up to 21 businesses. Completed to a high standard, the finished buildings are steel portal frame with brickwork and blockwork, curtain walling and power floated concrete slabs; they feature fibre connectivity and internal floor layouts that can be subdivided to suit tenant requirements. Externally, Midas completed car parking, access roads and planting to improve the site’s appearance and ecology.



  • The project had demanding site conditions, including the discovery of underground wells, basements, oil and asbestos.
  • The development had a challenging, innovative design that included a kinetic wall, the first of its kind in the West Country.
  • The customer required achievement of BREEAM Excellent.



Prior to commencement of works, Midas reviewed all Ordnance Survey maps of the area and commissioned a ground penetrating radar scan of the site for unexploded ordnance, as Devonport Dockyard was heavily targeted for bombing during World War Two. During excavation works the team discovered several voids including basements, bank vaults and foundations of buildings destroyed during the Blitz. Midas pumped 400 tonnes of Type 1 granular fill compactable material into the holes, solid enough for the 55-tonne crane to sit on, and filled other excavations with concrete. The site fenced off excavations, with a vehicle controller in place to guide operations of plant and excavation machinery, and tested the ground for stability before each stage of the works.

The team completed excavations under close, careful management, utilising remote compactors over the arches and basements to avoid risk to operators. Midas contacted the neighbouring Dockyard Heritage Centre to inspect the archaeology discovered and advise on site management, investigation and monitoring of the archaeological discoveries. Midas sent archaeological artefacts found on site to the city library history department.

Midas joined this design and build project at RIBA Stage 2. The innovative design included use of a kinetic wall to reflect light and move with the wind, and random rubble stone cladding to some elevations, including the gable ends. Midas constructed the kinetic wall, which is nearly six metres wide and over seven metres high, with 1,786 aluminium shingles affixed to steel wires attached to a full-height screen over the main entrance. It is the first of its kind in the west country and provides a distinctive feature of the development. Midas completed and connected the stone clad gable ends early in the project, adjusting the programme to mitigate this requirement and completing the gable ends as soon as possible to make the buildings watertight and enable progression of interior works. Internally, the structural grid and division walls were designed to be easily combined to provide larger floor plates to respond to market interest.

Midas successfully achieved BREEAM Excellent through provision of bicycle storage; attaining a lower Building Emission Rate than the Target Emission Rate; and installation of one bat box, one bird box and one bee brick on each building. Midas fitted a PV array to the roof of the office, with an estimated annual generation of 19,616.00kWh and a declared net capacity of 20.00kWh. The team also planted verges and trees, improving the site’s ecology, and achieved a 98% recycling figure, with demolition waste sent for reprocessing and reuse.


Added Value:

During the project Midas added value to the local community by delivering a number of initiatives on site through the Employment and Skills Plan (ESP). These included: 13 work placements; creation of five site jobs plus 38 jobs created through the National Skills Academy for Construction; support of 12 construction careers information, advice and guidance events; 250 waged training weeks on site through apprenticeships and existing apprenticeships; and 31 qualifications and industry certifications gained. Midas delivered £299k of savings to the customer by project completion through a combination of best practice and added value reviews including: saving £125k through design advice from specialist contractors to provide alternative best value product solutions; and saving £48k through sequencing advice to resolve programme issues and mitigate delays. The project supported the local economy with 100% of the total firms on site being SMEs, of which 70% were based within the local authority. The team undertook significant community engagement, including involvement with the Building Plymouth partnership. Midas’ Community Engagement Manager became a member of their Advisory Group, participating in and supporting their events, and the team organised tours of the site as part of the Building Plymouth Open Doors Campaign. Midas hosted further site visits from Women In Property, the local high school and local A Level Geography students.


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