Heathrow Airport has launched a nationwide tour of the 65 sites still in the running to be the off-site construction centres for Heathrow expansion.
‘Logistics Hubs’ aim to ensure that businesses right across the UK can form part of the airport’s supply chain, enabling Heathrow’s new runway to deliver a legacy of construction excellence across the UK, and are a key part of Heathrow’s pitch to be allowed to expand.
The tour is the latest major milestone in the delivery of Heathrow expansion, and comes ahead of an expected Parliamentary vote on the policy framework in the first half of this year.
The sites will be used to pre-assemble components of an expanded Heathrow before transporting them in consolidated loads to the airport. Heathrow expansion will be the first major infrastructure project to use off-site construction centres. The hubs will play a key role in supporting expansion’s efficient delivery, mitigating the impact that concentrated construction activity would otherwise have on the airport’s local communities.
At each site visit, airport representatives will meet the businesses applying to become a key part of the expansion supply chain strategy. The Logistics Hubs will have the opportunity to demonstrate strengths in a range of areas, as Britain’s only hub airport seeks out the best businesses to partner with and deliver Heathrow expansion. Bidders will not only need to illustrate engineering prowess, they will also need to demonstrate a skilled and dedicated workforce, capability to collaborate on the nationwide project and good connectivity allowing output to be easily transported to Heathrow.
The 65 sites were longlisted from an initial 121 applications in November 2017. Heathrow representatives will visit all longlisted locations in the first half of 2018, and aim to open a pre-qualification questionnaire process later this year.
The airport say these Logistics Hubs are essential in ensuring Heathrow expansion delivers for the whole country by spreading jobs, boosting productivity and modernising the construction industry outside of London and the South East. They will ensure that 60% of procurement spend will be outside of London, spreading the benefits of local investment up and down the country. As well as the direct benefits, new research from WPI Economics shows that, if adopted more widely, the approach could spur growth in off-site construction and lead to a productivity boost worth £30 billion for the industry outside of London by 2025.
Heathrow’s Logistics Hubs feature in the Government’s Industrial Strategy, listed as an example of how to develop skills across the UK and create conditions where successful businesses can emerge. Heathrow has also begun working with other major infrastructure companies to explore how the final sites could be used for future projects.
Lord Deighton, Chairman at Heathrow Airport said: “Heathrow Expansion is a once in a generation opportunity to transform the UK construction industry, build for the future and deliver a lasting skills legacy for future generations. All of this comes at a pivotal time for our country, as it prepares itself to leave the EU and where we need to build for our future in both travel and trade.
“An expanded Heathrow is for all of Britain and the Logistics Hubs are instrumental in our aim to ensure that expansion spreads the huge potential of its £187 billion in economic benefits across the UK, whilst minimising the impact on the airport’s local communities. Off-site construction is an innovative way for these balances to be met and we can’t wait to see for ourselves the opportunity we have in working with the best businesses in the country.”