Construction Excellence looks at the sustainable approach clients EP and Urban Splash has taken in East Manchester

The New Islington Millennium Community is a development on a 12.5 ha site at Ancoats, East Manchester, the third Millennium Community to be identified as part of English Partnerships’ national programme.

The development site included the former Cardroom Estate, which was built in the late 1970s. By the 1990s, the estate’s community was suffering the effects of massive depopulation, poor services and high levels of crime.

Only half the 204 homes were occupied when the site was identified for development as a Millennium Community.

The clients, EP, New East Manchester, Urban Splash, Manchester City Council have reinvented the previously neglected and rundown estate with cutting-edge architecture, new waterways and new housing.

Sustainable objective

A key objective for the project was sustainability and ensuring the project was undertaken in an environmentally sensitive way.

Getting the site ready for development, a job undertaken by civil engineering and building contractor Volker Stevin, has involved work to remove chemical and metal by-products left over from former canal-side industries.

This took place on-site, where materials were cleaned and reused; which ensured that no earthworks materials were sent to landfill.

Volker Stevin has delivered the environmental improvements and new infrastructure through Early Contractor Involvement, working with the design team and the local community and through employing and training local people.

The ‘Rock’ and swinging bridge
The ‘Rock’ and swinging bridge

The purpose of the remediation and infrastructure work was to rejuvenate the area by building new infrastructure including public realm areas, canals and a water park, as well as building plots on which a new sustainable community can be built.

Green goals

The management of this site has balanced the environmental, economic and social needs of the area better than most construction projects and is one of the first major construction schemes to really consider sustainability in both process and outcomes.

The New Islington project improved the environment and the outcome is a greener place that will function better for the community. The construction processes always considered environmental issues; Volker Stevin is one of only two contractors in the UK with EMAS accreditation, which sets standards above and beyond those generally accepted in the industry.