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Civil Engineering Award

Commissioning authority: Royal National Lifeboat Institute
Principal designer: Royal Haskoning
Principal contractor: Nuttall John Martin

Award for projects valued between £3 million and £50 million. Sponsored by Autodesk.

The design and construction team for this project worked hard to overcome huge access and environmental issues to create an impressive new home for the latest Tamar-class lifeboats in Padstow, Cornwall.

The lifeboat station sits in a semi-circular cove at the base of a 30m-high rock cliff just west of Padstow. Access from the cliff top was originally via a flight of 130 steps, which meant that all materials had to be delivered by sea.

As the construction was in the surf zone, timing of deliveries and of work was crucial. High tides would completely submerge the site, which led to a jack-up barge having to be used for 40 of the 74 weeks of the project.

The harsh environment also dictated that materials should be chosen wisely to meet the needs of durability, sustainability and deliverability. However, client RNLI also specified that the new £5.5 million facility must be sympathetic to the contours of the landscape, which required innovative engineering and design solutions.

The team worked together to overcome the considerable challenges posed by the project,
producing a design that was not just buildable but that worked in harmony with its environment – a Site of Special Scientific Interest and close to a lobster hatchery which forms a vital part of the local economy.

The result is an outstanding building that will serve the community for decades to come and that fits seamlessly with the rugged and beautiful surroundings of the north Cornish coastline.

‘An exemplary case of good design fit for purpose and well executed.’

‘The inaccessible site required all materials to be delivered by sea at the base of a 30m cliff – a real logistical challenge.’

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Eton College Rowing Centre, Dorney Lake
Lower Witham Flood Defence Scheme, Lincoln
RNLI Padstow

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