PERI proves roaring success at UK’s largest zoo exhibit



Construction work on a £30 million project that will result in the UK’s largest indoor zoo exhibit is currently underway, with PERI Ltd playing a major role in supporting LOR with their in-situ concrete works on site.

Chester Zoo – the subject of a new BBC drama – is currently undergoing a major transformation with the creation of one of the most ambitious zoo developments in Europe. In 2015, the exotic islands project will result in the introduction of a truly unique environment that will house endangered species and introduce visitors to a sub-tropical climate in Cheshire.

PERI, the world’s largest provider and manufacturer of formwork and scaffolding systems, has been involved in the project since November 2013. It has provided unique engineering solutions for contractor Laing O’Rourke, tackling the challenges of various complex enclosures, including specially crafted bridges and secure internal walls that will see the zoo’s estate extend by 12%. The new enclosure will cover six different South East Asian island habitats.

Supporting Laing O’Rourke in their planning and approach, PERI was able to design unique platform supports to support the internal enclosure walls to the main Indonesian jungle house. Scaling heights ranging from 1.5 to 7.5 metres, as well as overcoming the difficulties of openings within the walls which had a variety of shapes and sizes, PERI combined its CB climbing formwork with the RUNDFLEX circular wall formwork to ensure secure, safe and reliable support that could adapt to the varying curved wall structures.

For the straight walls, PERI TRIO was used, providing those on site with a universal formwork system. The system’s minimal components results in faster formwork and can cope with the demands of the contrasting geometry of the structure.

Other equipment from the PERI range currently being used on site at Chester Zoo includes: PERI UP scaffolding to construct 70 linear metres of brickwork; the CB climbing systems to support large-sized wall construction; the MULTIPROP shoring system, as a high-strength lightweight prop and cost-effective shoring tower.

Ian Higginbottom, Sales Manger at PERI said:

“We always relish the challenge of being involved in the most ambitious projects. The Chester Zoo islands exhibit has presented many technical challenges including ensuring that the correct sequencing of PERI equipment was used. We have also been able to demonstrate our design capabilities with our teams in Leeds and Birmingham tailoring the CB platforms with both TRIO and RUNDFLEX formwork.

“We have a fantastic relationship with Laing O’Rourke and this project has allowed us to support the construction team by visiting the site and demonstrating to them how to use our equipment efficiently and effectively. This in turn has ensured that on-site safety has been maintained to the highest level, standards of construction have remained high and the various stages of construction have met their deadlines thanks to the support our systems provide and the high quality of the Laing O’Rourke team.”

The Island will be the largest indoor zoo exhibit in the UK and will be the home of Sumatran orang-utans, Sulawesi macaques and the sunda gavial crocodile, a new species for the zoo. Expected to bring an extra 150,000 visitors a year, the project is set to be completed in the spring of 2015.