Aimed at addressing the escalating housing shortage in Cambridge, once complete the development will include 3,000 homes, accommodation for 2,000 postgraduate students and 100,000m2 of academic and research and development space. There will also be a range of community, retail and leisure facilities along with sustainable transport provisions, such as cycle ways.
Through a collaborative cross-divisional approach, Aggregate Industries was ideally placed to provide a raft of bespoke solutions to the development, spanning specialist asphalt, ready-mixed concrete, and landscaping products.
From an asphalt perspective, planners were keen to avoid the use of traditional blacktop asphalt for road surfacing to ensure the new district was in keeping with the surrounding countryside – preferring materials that would produce a more natural aesthetic but were also durable enough to withstand the high levels of traffic expected to the site. The task proved challenging as many of the decorative asphalt solutions currently available on the market, although capable of achieving the desired look, were not robust enough to meet the technical performance required. It was on this basis that a bespoke product solution using Aggregate Industries’ SuperColour® Exposed Golden Gravel formula was specified and the team carried out extensive skid resistance testing on the scheme prior to installation, to ensure it met exacting safety requirements.
When it came to landscaping, the architects were keen to work with the Charcon commercial landscaping team – having worked together on a number of successful projects – to source paving products that would work with all the different architectural elements, meet sustainability standards, be cost effective for such a large project and be available for future phases of the development for continuity of design.
The solution was StoneMaster® paving, a revolutionary range of flag and block paving made from a fine sand mix that replicates the appearance of natural sandstone, thus making it more economical in terms of achieving a high-end landscaping look. The product also offered a sustainable solution, containing over 50% reclaimed or recycled materials.
Aggregate Industries has also supplied 14,000m3 of ready-mixed concrete for the first phase of the project, which has seen the construction of 91 residential homes on top of an underground car park. This included 3,000m3 of its innovative and highly-durable Watertight concrete mix to protect the car parks’ basement and ground floor slab from water ingress and potential damp.
Mark Barter, Sales Director of Aggregate Industries’ Concrete Products Division, said: “As a ground-breaking model for affordable urban housing in the UK, the contractors working on the North West Cambridge Development were looking for a best practice partner that could provide a time efficient, tailored approach to bespoke product specification, which spanned asphalt, concrete and paving. During often complex installation processes, our technical teams were always on hand to provide support where necessary and within a timely manner.
“It was through this level of dedicated service and a holistic, collaborative approach, that the team was able to create a superior result that exceeded performance requirements, along with client expectations.”