27 APR 2017

Scottish Minister opens new National HVDC Centre

BakerHicks completes Civil and Structural Design for newly-opened HVDC Electrical Network testing and training Centre for Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE)

BakerHicks, the multi-disciplinary design and engineering business, has completed the Civil and Structural Design work for the critically-acclaimed SSE High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) Centre. Jamie Hepburn, Scottish Minister for Employability and Training and Member of the Scottish Parliament officially opened the Centre yesterday.

The National HVDC Centre has been constructed to test the operation of HVDC schemes on Britain’s transmission network. It houses large equipment replicas which research will be carried out on and also serves as a training centre, complete with auditorium and administration block. BakerHicks provided C&S design consultancy services from concept design through to construction support, as well as Principle Designer services under the Construction Design and Management (CDM) Regulations.

A complex and striking building constructed on a brownfield site, the Centre posed a number of challenges for BakerHicks’ structural engineers. The main structural challenge was to achieve overall stability, with large amounts of perimeter glazing meaning it was vital that deflection and sway were limited. Difficulty was increased by the limited number of internal partitions to conceal any vertical bracing. This was overcome by adding horizontal bracing to the entire curved upper roof area to ensure the loads were passed down through the structure to the foundations. A curved and tapered Truss was also required to support both roofs over the auditorium whilst acting as an anchor for the inclined perimeter columns.

Sse National Hvdc Centre

Photo credit: The National HVDC Centre. 

BakerHicks used 3D modelling software to help coordinate the design and enable the wider design team to better visualise the original 2D architectural proposals. BakerHicks’ engineers also helped reduce the carbon footprint through a cut and fill earthworks study which reduced the volume of material removed from site.

Andy Gotts, director of civil and structural engineering at BakerHicks, said: 

“The complex geometry of the building structure with its curved roof, inclined columns and large external canopies presented a considerable challenge, requiring close collaboration with SSE, BSP Architects and contractors CCG (Scotland) Ltd. Our structural engineers and technicians created sophisticated 3D BIM and analysis models that were central to overcoming this.
 “The Centre has been finished to very high quality specification and we are proud that BakerHicks’ design skills have played a key role in achieving this result.”

The National HVDC Centre is part of Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks and is funded through the Electricity Network Innovation Competition as the Multi-Terminal Test Environment (MTTE) Project. HVDC is the most efficient way to transport electricity over long distances.

BakerHicks was formerly Morgan Sindall Professional Services.