'Constructionarium' takes university students out of the classroom and onto their own construction site. It provides the opportunity for future civil engineers to learn alongside future employers and industry professionals such as Brogans, with whom they are likely to work with on major projects in the future. The project involves students (in teams of 20) constructing mini versions of iconic structures in only 5 days, using land provided by ConstructionSkills in Norfolk.
Brogan Group were consulted for student projects as part of last year's successful 'Constructionarium'. This year, Imperial College, the original creator of the Constructionarium concept, asked Brogan Group again to help them construct a 4-storey Mini version of the famous Gherkin Tower in London.
The original iconic tower is 40 storeys high and was designed by Norman Foster. The mini-version, constructed by the students, was adapted by Expedition Engineering designers and fabricated by Caunton Engineering. Imperial's Constructionarium partner, John Doyle Construction, took overall site responsibility and the resulting structure was so impressive that it has been entered as a finalist in the Structural Steel Design awards for 2008.
The team responsible for the ambitious Mini-Gherkin project realised that the 4-storey tower could not be erected without the expertise of a licensed scaffolder. Not only that, but the scaffolder would need to cope with a large number of students who had never previously been on a construction site and thus lacked safety awareness. Imperial's Dr Sunday Popo-Ola noted that the Mini-Gherkin had been proposed as a structure a few years ago, but needed input from the industry to be viable as a project with our students. 'Brogan Group understood what we needed straight away, offered their help and then we were able to give this project the green light'.
Brogan Group scaffolder, Paul Ring who assisted the students in the construction of the mini-Gherkin, was so popular with students at last year's event that Imperial College were keen to work with Brogan Group again this year.
Lecturer Alison Ahearn of Imperial commented 'Paul was so incredibly useful to us because he can work with anyone, from the least practical novice through to the most seasoned industry professional. We are extremely grateful to Brogan Group for donating Paul's services to our students'.
The Group was happy to work with these students on such an exciting project as we are committed to keeping the industry safe and communicating safety awareness to the next generation. Brogan Group's Managing Director, James Brogan, commented 'We are delighted to be involved in the Imperial College Constructionarium and to be able to demonstrate the way in which we work to prospective colleagues and employees within the industry'.
Brogan's expertise was also vital to other Constructionarium projects that included access scaffold for a 7 metre high mini version of the Millau Cable Bridge in Southern France which required the erection of safety rails around the vertical access shaft for an underground train station. Paul also assisted on another project that used 'cast rammed earth' for tall walls on a summer pavilion.
Both students and trainer were very happy with the overall experience and outcome. Paul said 'It was a privilege and enormous fun to work with such intelligent students, especially when they are coping with work so unfamiliar to them. It's great that our company is investing in the future of the whole industry and I'm looking forward to some of these students being resident engineers on future projects involving Brogan Group'.