Supporting The UK Police Memorial at the
National Memorial Arboretum
The Police Arboretum Memorial Trust, founded in 2013, aimed to raise £4M in order to build a memorial to represent and show respect to the dedication, courage and sacrifice of its members who have died while performing their duties. We at Shanco Contracts had the honour of working alongside the principal contractor on this poignant yet rewarding project.
We began by proposing a pre-start meeting on-site with the principal contractor, the grounds people who looked after the Arboretum, and representatives from our concrete and bulk earthworks suppliers. This gave an opportunity for all involved to partake in a thorough walk around the site and review together, the access routes for wagons and deliveries. This was a crucial first step as suppliers were needing to navigate existing memorial statues, trees and benches with a full understanding of the site’s rules and restrictions.
We assessed and offered advice on a variety of cost-effective measures to ensure minimal disruption occurred on-site due to the Arboretum remaining open to the public throughout the project. Well-sequenced deliveries together with the appointment of a full-time banksman to guide each wagon 2km in and out of site ensured the safety of the public. Other suggestions included trimming back overgrown trees to avoid any potential damage, implementing steel road plates on tight corners to protect lawns from site traffic, and reinforcing a footbridge to withstand the wagons and piling rig as this was our only access route to the site.
After stripping the site of excess vegetation our Site Engineer assisted the piling contractor, in setting out all of the piles & levels for the piling mat. We then excavated around the piles and cropped them to the necessary level. Pile caps were used to evenly distribute vertical loads and maintain foundation stability; these play a vital role in distributing the load of the structure efficiently to the underlying piles. This ensures the memorial's stability and longevity. Prior to pouring the reinforced concrete pile caps, numerous boxouts set at different levels were required. They provide space for the installation and accessibility of the memorial's foundations. This made the job slightly more complex, requiring a high degree of accuracy which was essential.
Our Engineers then set base plates, each with 18 x 24mm diameter bars which were designed to have an 800mm embedment into the pile cap to hold the 12m high memorial in place. Once the stringent QA procedure & checks had been completed with the Engineers and main contractor, the pile caps were poured using RC50 Concrete. Once the statue was lifted in place, a leaf-shaped reinforced concrete platform at the base of the memorial was poured.
Soft landscaping involved forming 1.5m-high curved bunds to give a sense of enclosure and protection. A new swale and headwall were also constructed before a connection was made into the existing dyke. We then installed drains at the base of the bunds running alongside the footpaths to divert excess rainwater to the swale. Hard landscaping included a reinforced concrete curved path finished with granite paving which led up to the leaf-shaped platform, which was also finished with granite paving.
Throughout this project, we faced a number of unique challenges. With the rest of the NMA site remaining open to the public, our works were paused daily to eliminate noise during the scheduled moment of silence in tribute to the UK Police Service and armed forces who have dedicated their lives to protect us. Additionally, the River Tame which ran through the site meant provisions had to be put in place for regular monitoring of the current flood defences for the risk of rising water levels in adverse weather conditions. Control measures were put in place to ensure that there was no risk to the environment such as contamination of these watercourses, or safety risks to our operatives from working in close proximity to them.
This case study serves as a testament to the significance of careful groundworks in creating a lasting and meaningful memorial that will continue to hold deep importance for generations to come.