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Client: JLR


Project overview:

The Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) Gaydon Centre is one of the principal engineering centres of JLR. The site houses design, research and development centres, and extensive test facilities. The site occupies land that was once RAF Gaydon. The British Mot Museum is located on the same site.

Laing O Rourke was appointed to extend the design and research facilities as well as construct a new visitor's centre as part of a £200m redevelopment of the estate. The landscape design has been developed to bring beauty of the surrounding Warwickshire countryside into the site, to reinforce a distinctive sense of place. A new lake has been included to dramatically enhance the arrival experience into the complex, and form part of a sustainable drainage system. Our scope of works follows.


Scope of works: 


Landscaping to exterior areas and new events

Upon award, we worked with the Landscape Architects to tag specimen, feature, and mature trees for the project from nurseries in Europe. The trees were of great value and precise management of their treatment from tagging to arrival on site was required to reduce risk of damage in transit, lifting into site and planting.

Specialist suppliers were engaged within the procurement stage of this project to discuss options for specialist wildflower soil and mixes to be used within the installation. A specific low nutrient soil was procured and installed to all areas to for wildflower creation. This assisted in the successful establishment which was key to the design. A wetland mix of wildflower was also used for the embankments of the lake, and, on the ornamental islands.

The works included a new feature lake that was created to dramatically enhance the arrival experience into the complex, and form part of a sustainable drainage system. This lake was also part of the new public open space for staff as part of the company’s Wellbeing agenda.


Visitors Centre Entrance and Car Park

Outside of the new visitor’s centre is a large paved public realm area. Within this area our team installed large feature pine trees. The trees were tagged in 2018 and have been grown in wind tunnels to create interesting bends their trunks. The planting of the trees was done in coordination with the paving contractor. Tree pits were dug and prepared by our teams; paving was then carried around the areas. The trees were carefully lifted into the pits in consideration of the new paving, soiled in and then the paving contractor completed the paving the tree. This process was also carried out within the visitor centre car park where semi-mature trees were planted to line spaces and pathways.


Feature Lake and Islands

A large lake and water feature have been created (by others) to embellish the entrance to JLR’s estate and the British Motor Museum. Our team were responsible for top soiling and preparing banks surrounding the lake and footpaths from the centre to the lake. Native shrubs, grasses and trees were planted with wildflower turf moving down towards the lake. Within the lake are two islands. Our teams planted trees onto the islands including a large mature willow. Upon its arrival the Willow was lifted by crane over the water into its pit. A specialist crane was used to cope with the weight of the tree and the distance of the island from the main land, rather than the height of the lift.


Added / social value: 

  • Application of group chat facility on Watsapp to share progress photos, photos of defects or any other
    information quickly within our team and with the Client’s site manager responsible for our works package.
  • It was important that once offloaded from transport, trees spend minimal time out of the ground to reduce
    risk of damage to the root zone and exposure to the elements. A plan of movement around site was
    implemented to ensure smooth transport to their final location with minimal distress. An adapted bale and
    grabber attachment was used on a telehandler to manoeuvre all of the trees. Routes to planting locations
    were planned to be as smooth as possible. Where ground was uneven additional strapping was used to
    support the tree. Upon arrival at the tree pit, operatives awaited the tree to position and lower directly into the pit in collaboration with the telehandler driver.

Specialist selected trees were moved with the utmost care around site to their planting destination.


Challenges / overview: 

The majority of deliveries to site were made to a designated compound area away from site and had to be transported into site as needed by our teams. Site was very congested with other contractors working to complete the construction works, and was a place of business for Jaguar Land Rover staff. All works were carried out in line with the main contractors HSQE requirements to reduce risk to all within the estate. Given the complexities of working in consideration of other contractors, within the main contractor’s programme of works, and managing multiple teams simultaneously within our package of works, our project team implemented a look ahead plan that was incredibly valuable to the management of the project. The scheme was carried out over a large site area, and we appointed 5 different soft landscaping teams to work in a number of locations simultaneously. Information to be discussed in planning meetings was gathered from the Site Diary which is used daily by the Supervisor and Contract Manager to log works complete and any issues on site.


Our Supervisor and Manager communicated daily to discuss works and ensure delivery call offs are in place to keep work progressing and outline any areas where potentially additional operatives are needed to push along programme. A weekly roundup of progress was also communicated to the client project team via telephone call and any new instruction from them was integrated into the look ahead. We support these calls by provided visual progress via photos on email, or, more dedicated WhatsApp call groups. We found it beneficial in pre-construction planning to confirm a day and time every week where our Contract Manager would call the Client Project Manager to give a short update of work on site, and identify any potential early warnings of delay prior to the delay occurring. These conversations provide opportunity for the Project Manager and our Contract manager to confirm any additional works needed and revise the look ahead schedule based on any changes to priority the client may have, or upon our advice to change works to avoid bad weather.