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Chocks away for Morgan Sindall Spitfire museum contract

22 September 2020

Morgan Sindall has won a deal to build a new £5.4m extension for its Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, which will house a Spitfire RW388.

The 3,800 sq ft building complete with specialised structural glazing will enable the Spitfire to be viewed from outside the museum.

Morgan Sindall will also refurbish the existing 4,200 sq ft café, including internal improvements to the walls, ceilings, and floor finishes. The café will be fully operational upon the completion of the new gallery.

Enabling works began in early March and the main contract is now progressing in line with government guidelines on safe operation.

The site team is currently focused on the foundations for the build, with the site sitting on the ex-North Staffordshire Coalfield. Over the past five months, the team has worked to remove any obstructions from beneath the surface, as well as filling in any visible coal seams. Steelwork is set to begin in early autumn, when the external frame for the building will begin to take shape.

Morgan Sindall Construction was appointed to deliver the project through the Scape Regional Construction framework. Under the framework, the main contractor will ensure that at least a fifth of the project’s investment fee is matched by social value contributions which will benefit the local community.

Reginald J. Mitchell, the creator of the Spitfire plane, was born and educated in North Staffordshire. Morgan Sindall Construction has collaborated with the local council and other consultants on the scheme on an educational film, to be used within the museum itself, about the history of the plane and its special relationship with the city.

Rob Cant, Scape Regional Construction framework director at Morgan Sindall Construction, said: “Throughout the turbulence of the past few months, we have seen more than ever the importance of our local communities. Stoke-on-Trent’s iconic Spitfire is emblematic of the city’s fighting spirit. We are proud to be involved in such an important scheme for both the city’s wider economic offering, and its own regional heritage, while also serving as a clear inspiration to the next generation of innovators and engineers.

“Work is progressing well thanks to a diverse and highly-skilled local supply chain we’re collaborating with on this project and we look forward to seeing it come out of the ground in the months ahead.”

Mark Robinson, Scape Group chief executive, said: “The Spitfire is a symbol of ingenuity, agility and endeavour that continues to make a significant contribution to Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire’s £1.7bn visitor economy. It’s a pleasure to see The Potteries Museum & Arts Gallery, Morgan Sindall Construction and Perfect Circle united under these principles to bring this powerful story to a new generation. We’re so proud to have played our part in performance managing this important restoration project, with the museum using our framework to break ground on the new extension with both speed and certainty.”

Property, construction and infrastructure consultancy Perfect Circle has been appointed as the city council’s multi-disciplinary construction consultant through Scape Group’s Built Environment Consultancy Services (BECS) framework to deliver all services, including project management, quantity surveying, and mechanical and electrical engineering.

Construction is expected to complete on the project in spring 2021.