Aeroplane flying low coming in to land at a busy airport, passing over a Carney Plant Suction Excavation vehicle, showcase the close proximity of Carney Construction projects to key public infrastructure like airports

London City Airport – DATCT

Project overview

Working for Buckinghams on this project to provide the Civils for the first Digital Air Traffic Control Tower in the UK, This included the RC structure and associated civils ducting and drainage for over 3km within the live airport at London City Airport.

Key info

  • Start date: January 2018
  • Completion date: December 2019
  • Form of contract NEC: Type A contract with priced activity schedule
  • Total value: £2.8million

Working under Buckhinghams, Carney provided labour, plant, materials, management, temporary works designs and supporting services (QA, Safety, Programme management etc.) The total value of this contract finalised at over £2.8million.


1. Safety & Environment

Throughout this project we had zero lost time incidents and were highly commended for our dedication to observations and reporting across the airport.

Working onsite we followed correct protocol when a potential UXO was found during the construction works, the design was reviewed and adapted to avoid the obstruction and works continued.

We complied with security process and had no deliveries turned away for incorrect bookings/non-compliance with airport security procedure. 0 lost time incidents due to security onsite.

Traffic management was also incorporated within the temporary works to show loading had been accounted for when building large manholes in an active access road to the airport.

2. Programme

The scope of the works were changed significantly during the project duration, the depth of key communications manholes were increased to 4.2m depth and opened to 3m X 3m open chambers. These are terrorist resistant and required significant temporary works additions. Despite these challenges the programme requirements were met for all Carney construction activities and key dates for raising the steel frame for the tower were met.

Due to the form of contract it was important to keep the client updated and ensure that key dates were met to allow applications to be agreed and paid for, this is covered more in the commercial case study.

3. Quality

Carney used high quality pourform ply wood shuttering to form the perimeter concrete and completed multiple site visits with client architects showing the curing strategy that would be required to ensure there was no cracking on the architectural fins. This required that the shutters were left in-situ after initial cracking for a minimum of 72hrs after casting to allow the concrete to contract slowly and not form cracks.

Carney also advised on the reinforcement design to ensure that reinforcement was fixed to the full depth of the fins while maintaining sufficient cover to prevent rebar touching the shutters. There was minimal bagging in required for the finish of this concrete after the works were completed.

4. Productivity

Carney were able to improve the productivity by designing the shutters such that they required pieces only to be removed from the original fabricated shutters for future pours. This meant that even though the design was complex, each shutter was used 6 times to provide this high quality finish saving cost and money.

Through a key period of the works it was required that the main airport access would have to be blocked and significant traffic management had to be arranged. Due to unknown ground conditions and a hidden concrete slab that had to be removed Carney had to mobilise 2 additional groundworks gangs for a period of 3 weeks working in split shifts to meet the programme requirements for the airport. This was completed in time and commercially agreed after to mitigate the damages to the project.

All temporary works were approved before being required onsite which enabled the site teams to progress as quickly as areas were available for works.

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