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Network Rail announces key National Centre contract

Plans to develop one of the most sustainable office buildings in the country took another step forward as Network Rail awarded a key contract for pre-construction services.

Network Rail’s proposal for a new national centre in Milton Keynes is based on a range of principals designed to limit energy consumption and its impact on the environment. Network Rail plans to house up to 3,000 employees, bringing new jobs to the area.

Today, Network Rail announced the award of a pre-construction services agreement to BAM Construction to assist in the second stage of the design and build procurement process before construction begins – subject to planning permission – in the summer next year.

Network Rail is building the National Centre to bring together the company’s national functions to improve teamwork and planning, and provide better support to the route and area teams. The move is also expected to save the company millions of pounds as the amount of office space it rents at a number of locations will be reduced.

The proposed building, scheduled to open in 2012, will be located near Milton Keynes Central railway station on the site of the former National Hockey Stadium.


Iain Coucher, chief executive, Network Rail said: “Our announcement today marks another milestone in our plans to bring the national centre to Milton Keynes, uniting some of our key national functions together under one eco-friendly roof.

“As one of the most sustainable methods of travel, rail has a big role to play in the low carbon economy of the future and our plans for the national centre demonstrate our commitment to reduce our environmental impact at every turn.”

Nigel Comben, south east regional director, BAM said: “BAM is delighted to be awarded the pre-construction services for this exciting project and will bring to it the experienced team that recently completed an award winning £72m mixed use scheme adjacent to Network Rail’s development in Milton Keynes. It will be led by Chris Edwards who was a finalist at this year’s Construction Manager of the Year Awards.

“BAM is able to offer strength in depth to support the demands of this project and deliver the quality and service we know that Network Rail will expect.”

Network Rail is aiming to achieve a BREEAM (2008) Excellent rating for the centre. The proposed development will take advantage of a range of passive measures designed to regulate temperature and reduce energy use, including an optimised orientation and facade, a heavyweight exposed structure, narrow floor plans, high soffits, and natural ventilation, which are all complemented by very high efficiency, low carbon systems. 

Other environmental features include extensive living roofs that will greatly enhance and encourage diverse habitats for flora and fauna in the centre of Milton Keynes, and sizable rainwater harvesting systems which will be used to flush toilets and irrigate the landscaping.

In addition to the selection of new, environmentally sustainable materials, Network Rail also plans to recycle material from the National Hockey Stadium and, wherever possible, materials will be sourced locally, cutting the number of lorries and further reducing the carbon footprint of the development.  The Homes and Communities Agency has already started work to clear the site.

A planning application for the development was submitted to Milton Keynes Council on 30 October 2009.