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Coldham Solar Farm

Utility Installation Projects worked with Coldham Windfarm to install dual 11kV circuits and fibre optic infrastructure spanning approximately 2km across varied terrain.

Client: Coldham Solar Farm

Scope of Works:

  1. Supply and Installation of Infrastructure:
    • Supply and installation of duct/marker tape and fibre chambers as per client specifications.
    • Installation of dual 11kV circuits in various terrains, including field, verge, and concrete road over 2km.
    • Deployment of fibre optic cable within ducts, with lengths up to 1000 meters per pull.
  2. Foundation Design and Construction:
    • Design of pile foundations for switch-room/substation base.
    • Installation of pile foundations and concrete base to support the switch-room.
  3. Excavation and Backfill:
    • Excavation, backfilling, and final reinstatement of all excavations.
    • Preparation and installation of dual circuit joint bays.
  4. Project Management and Coordination:
    • Staged programme of works to manage concurrent activities without interference.
    • Close collaboration with SSE and other project stakeholders to ensure safe relocation of existing circuits and coordination of third-party services.

Project Overview

UIP undertook an electrical project located at Coldham Solar Farm, Wisbech. This project involved the installation of dual 11kV circuits and fibre optic infrastructure spanning approximately 2km across varied terrain. The project also included the design and construction of critical foundations for a new switch-room/substation. The client's strict deadlines necessitated a carefully staged programme of works to ensure efficiency and minimal disruption to ongoing activities.

The project commenced with meticulous planning, including confirmation of route specifications and site assessments to determine the optimal placement for foundations and ducting. Given the presence of existing 33kV circuits, our team collaborated closely with SSE (Scottish and Southern Energy) to safely relocate these circuits, enabling the subsequent installation of the new switch-room base.

Simultaneously, our piling team completed the installation of the foundations. This phase was seamlessly integrated with the duct installation, which involved stripping topsoil, conducting trial holes, and strategically excavating trenches for duct placement. To streamline operations and minimise open excavations, two excavation teams were deployed, working concurrently but independently to ensure safety and operational efficiency.

Once the groundwork was complete, the client was able to proceed with the installation of their substation, marking a pivotal milestone in the project timeline. Our team swiftly moved to install joint bays and fibre chambers in readiness for cable installation. Notably, cable tensions and jointing positions were meticulously planned, considering the challenging terrain and client preferences for minimising the number of cable joints at the same time, reducing the pulling tension with the various changes in direction.

"The Coldham Solar Farm project highlights our precision and efficiency in electrical infrastructure installations. Our team expertly managed the installation of dual 11kV circuits, fibre optic infrastructure, and critical foundations, ensuring seamless coordination with SSE and other stakeholders. We successfully navigated challenging terrains and strict timelines, demonstrating our ability to deliver complex projects to high standards."

Graham Clackson, Project Director, UIP

Risks and Challenges

The project presented several challenges that required detailed planning and proactive project management. These challenges include:

  • Route Confirmation: Ensuring alignment with the client's proposed route and specifications.
  • Base Location Confirmation: Critical verification of base location to facilitate design and construction.
  • Third-Party Coordination: Managing work within third-party land and around existing services.
  • Programme Management: Adapting to evolving client requirements while adhering to project timelines.
  • Unknown Ground Conditions: Dealing with variable ground conditions near old structures and farmland.
  • Cable Tensions and Pulling: Strategically positioning joint bays and winches to mitigate cable tension risks during installation.

This project represents our capabilities to execute fibre optic cable installation with precision and efficiency. Through meticulous planning, staged execution, and proactive risk mitigation strategies, we successfully delivered the project, meeting client deadlines and exceeding quality standards.

Discuss your project with our team today.
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