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The Royal Parks

Project dates: 2016–2018
Contract Description: Street lighting and re-cabling works for The Mall and Constitution Hill, Central London


What did we do?
Our team approached this specialised work as it does every project – with meticulous planning and attention to detail. Working for maintenance contractors VINCI Facilities, we began with a series of pre-works, undertaking an electrical survey and duct survey to fully establish what we were dealing with. This led to our team making a series of suggestions to the electrical designers, Peter Brett Associates LLP. Close collaboration enabled our team to assist the designers with practical engineering solutions the team had gained using similar technologies in other projects.

Over a period of 4 ½ weeks, we connected 18 lighting columns and over 470 metres of new duct. We faced unique challenges daily. The area is highly populated with visitors, so the health and safety of both the tea and the public were of paramount importance. In addition, security was a top priority, so we ensured we maintained a very positive relationship with the Palace Police and the Metropolitan Police, as they regularly had to request that we stop work or move locations at a moment’s notice.

What was the challenge?
Existing cables which supplied the electric street lighting across The Mall and Constitution Hill in London were approximately 40 years old and had deteriorated significantly in recent years. As a result, there were supply failures to a number of columns and the cable desperately needed to be replaced and upgraded.

The Mall runs north east of St James’s Park from the Queen Victoria Memorial at the west end, to Admiralty Arch at the east. It’s lined on both sides with large established trees and is a grand processional route in honour of Queen Victoria so it has seen innumerable historic Royal processions – from coronations to state visits. It was our role to bring its lighting and cabling into the 21st Century, without losing any of its traditional aesthetic grandeur and with minimal disruption to the general public and the royal household.

What was the solution?
It soon became apparent that in order to provide the best possible solution, we’d need to create a new duct system and use different cables to the ones planned, as the originals were just too large for the existing space. We also suggested an IP rated joint system at each column to allow easy access for maintenance.

Having to manually dig around trees, relocating for Changing of the Guard and working around 200 members of the world’s media covering the story of The Duke of Edinburgh’s retirement, were just some of the unusual working conditions faced by our team. But our extensive planning, lighting and cabling experience ensured the Constitution Hill part of the project was a success.

The project then moved to the Mall, where we constructed a new ‘brick pier’ feeder pillar, similar in size and detail to an adjacent existing one. We re-cabled all the lights on the north side, utilising part of the existing duct, but also creating around 250m of new ducts in the process. In total, the team re-cabled 23 galleon twin globed columns along the Mall.

As a result of our meticulous planning and attention to detail, our team ensured that the ornate, traditional-looking lighting columns encase state-of-the-art cabling technology that is substantially easier to access and maintain. The advantage of the new system is that if there is ever a system failure, it would affect every third column only, so the areas would remain mostly lit throughout. The new system is also much more robust, with cables protected against fuel, water ingress etc, ensuring a lifespan of around 20 years or more.

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Our team rose to the occasion and completed the works in just over four weeks, a couple of days ahead of schedule. Michael Nicholson, Project Manager