Early planning enables greater understanding at Winchburgh
West Lothian has one of the highest rates of population growth in Scotland. The development at the historic village of Winchburgh, 12 miles west of Edinburgh, aims to take a significant step to ensure there are homes to meet the growing demand with the 3,800 new homes that form part of their development masterplan.
A Collaborative Partnership
The utility scope of the project for Energetics Design and Build (EDB) included the design and installation of a high voltage network incorporating 14 substations, a medium pressure gas distribution main and two gas governors. We will be providing gas and electricity connections to 3,424 new homes, three schools and around 20 commercial units.
Energetics’ preparation to supply gas and electricity to each area of the Winchburgh development started many years before being awarded the project. By investing time and effort and working in partnership with Winchburgh Developments Ltd and Sweco, we were better able to understand the complexities and challenges of a development of this size. Engaging early with the incumbent utility providers allowed the partnership to understand, together, the challenges involved in delivering the project, years in advance.
John Hamilton, CEO at Winchburgh Developments Ltd:
“Challenges that we faced were:
(i) complexity in terms of the difficulties in aligning all types of infrastructure, planning obligations and land sales on a manageable programme;
(ii) access to and engagement with the utilities network operators who we ultimately rely on for energy capacity.”
Design Flexibility & Value Engineering
EDB has worked closely with existing utility network providers to enable the delivery of gas and electricity to early phases of the development whilst continuing the programme of works to bring the main HV and MP networks on site. We needed to complete substantial off-site infrastructure work to deliver gas and electricity to the initial phases of the development.
Works to bring 5.4km of 3 HV cables from the primary substation at Broxburn to the 3-panel board at Main Street Winchburgh commenced in Summer 2019 and is on target to be completed by December 2020 – some of the route challenges being two crossings of the Union Canal, the Niddry Burn through busy residential areas.
Bringing gas to the development has been a challenge and has required continuous discussion with SGN to balance the load requirements in line with the demand and programme whilst considering cost and effort. EDB will be bringing Medium Pressure gas mains from the West and East of the development across approx. 6km. Works have already commenced from the West with gas expected to be available from December 2020. Work on the project from Kirkliston to the East is more complex and should start in early 2021 to conclude in 2023.
John Hamilton explains that “Winchburgh Developments Ltd needed a partner in utilities delivery with the experience and expertise to approach a complex project on a long-term basis from the developer’s perspective. Energetics was able to demonstrate that they have that level of understanding of the development process at the masterplan scale. Energetics has shown great insight into Winchburgh Developments Ltd’s business strategy and planning, supporting us through a long-term project of significant complexity. It was crucial to Winchburgh Developments Ltd that we secured a utilities services partner with that level of expertise and commitment.”
Pierre Puyrigaud, Senior Development Manager at Winchburgh Developments Ltd, added: “Energetics is showing to be responsive partners with regards to both design and site implementation. Winchburgh requires particular attention to the timely provision of energy to its numerous residential and commercial components: Energetics’ team is able to deal with the urgent as well as plan for the long term, whilst managing external parties such as SPN, SSE and SGN.”