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    Brent Cross West Station, London, UK

    GRP permanent formwork for rail infrastructure works

    Project Overview

    Brent Cross West is a new station on the Midland Main Line and Thameslink Routes which opened to the public in December 2023. The station consists of four platforms two for stopping trains, and two as emergency platforms for fast trains. It’s the first major new mainline station in London in over a decade and connects passengers from central London to Brent Cross in as little as 12 minutes. The programme was being led by Barnet Council, designed and built by VolkerFitzpatrick, and project managed by Mace, with Network Rail a key programme partner.

    GRP formwork to meet the lifespan requirements of the platform.

    VolkerFitzpatrick has a strong reputation as a sustainable construction company enabled by technology and data driven decision making, and in late 2021 approached us to support with the urgent supply of GRP permanent formwork for rail infrastructure works to enable the construction of one of the platforms to remain on schedule.

    The impact of both COVID and Brexit on procurement lead times had impacted the permanent composite GRP formwork system that had been intended to be used to construct the platform slabs. With a significant amount of material required prior to Christmas, as designers, manufacturers and suppliers of GRP composites, we were well-placed to support with an in-situ test of GRP Structural Dura Profile 203 Wide Flange Beam and GRP d2 Dura Grating in order to facilitate the supply of an alternative permanent formwork solution from our stockholding that would meet the lifespan requirements of the platform structure.

    With a significant amount of material required prior to Christmas, as designers, manufacturers and suppliers of GRP composites, we were well-placed to support with an in-situ test of GRP Structural Dura Profile 203 Wide Flange Beam and GRP d2 Dura Grating in order to facilitate the supply of an alternative permanent formwork solution from our stockholding that would meet the lifespan requirements of the platform structure.

    After reviewing the project specification, our in-house Design and Engineering team were able to carefully consider the required spans, loads and allowable deflection limits as well as the overall design life expectations and were able to identify products within our range that would meet the project criteria quickly and confidently.

    VolkerFitzpatrick and Dura’s sustainable approach

    The suitable products identified were from our latest d2 Grating range, which as well as being ideal for the intended 210mm concrete slab pour, also offered significant embodied carbon savings of over 100 tonnes.

    To provide further confidence we carried out an in-house test as well as providing materials for an on-site practical demonstration that proved that the materials would perform as intended. Following the successful test, we supplied over 2000m² of d2 Dura Grating Solid Top 53mm and d2 Dura Grating Solid top 41mm for the GRP permanent formwork project from stock, meeting the tight pre-Christmas deadline.

    Lightweight and able to be installed outside of possession working hours, VolkerFitzpatrick’s selection of the d2 Dura Grating over alternative materials resulted in a significant 4-month construction programme saving.

    Achieving carbon savings from innovation

    The project used a total of 595 panels in a mixture of thicknesses and sizes, totalling 2,412m². By using Dura Composites d2 range instead of the previous generation grating available elsewhere in the market, the project saved a remarkable 100 tonnes of embodied carbon.

    Offsetting this amount of carbon would necessitate the combined effort of 4500 trees removing CO2 from the atmosphere for an entire year. This is equivalent to the space occupied by nearly three football fields. Another way to visualise this achievement is by comparing it to the carbon emissions of 297 economy flights from London Heathrow (LHR) to Dubai (DXB), or the distance covered by driving 488,000 miles in a petrol car.

    Developing real-world solutions in partnership

    In addition to providing a solution for the platform permanent formwork, we also devised a GRP barrier solution between the working platform and live OHLE equipment on site.

    A clever guided mobile scaffold tower design using 29mm d2 Dura Grating Solid Top as the non-conductive facing material, supported by Dura Profile Wide Flange Beam brackets, meant that work could continue during the day without the need for a railway possession, reducing the night-time and weekend working on the station.

    To facilitate the design and implementation, we completed additional testing on the panels to ratify conductivity values and fire resistance to ensure suitability for the application and the working environment.

    The solution proved extremely successful, with VolkerFitzpatrick calculating that in total, 288 working hours were saved using the guided scaffold tower with its GRP barrier.

    On the back of this fantastic and innovative project, we have since developed a joint venture with Mekina Industries, who specialise in GRP Permanent Formwork and have decades of delivery experience in bridges, civil structures and major infrastructure projects such as HS2.

    Find out more

    Contractor

    VolkerFitzpatrick

    Clients

    Mace

    Network Rail

    Barnet Council

    Products

    Standard Mesh 50mm
    Solid Top 41mm
    Structural Profiles

    Services

    Specialist Cutting
    Design & Engineering

    NW2 6LW

    Our Specialists

    We’re helping to answer the major challenges facing Britain’s railway network such as capacity, reliability and efficiency. Talk to our experienced team about how you can tap into our specialist knowledge and engineering capability for your project.