Gilbert-Ash Fit Out has been awarded a £1million contract in Kathmandu by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office to carry out structural adaptations to several buildings within the British Embassy compound.
The project will design and reinforce the structures in the Embassy to better withstand seismic activity. Nepal is susceptible to earthquakes due to its location between two colliding tectonic plates – the Indian Plate and the Tibetan Plate. In 2015 it was hit by a powerful earthquake which caused immense structural damage and killed over 9,000 people.
Gilbert-Ash Fit Out will provide a retrofitting option to increase the safety of the buildings. The team will work closely with local structural engineers to meet earthquake building regulations.
Senior Estimator on the project, Graeme Gourley, described his recent experience after visiting Kathmandu, where he attended a site visit to the British Embassy.
He commented: “We are looking forward to beginning our project in Nepal. As part of the bid process I travelled to Kathmandu to survey the site and engage with the local supply chain. This was an important exercise to gain a greater understanding of the local culture, and how we might need to adapt our working practices to fit with local norms.
“Being on the ground there, you are very aware of the devastating impact the 2015 earthquake had on people’s everyday lives. I was humbled and overwhelmed by the collective response of the Nepalese people to the earthquake. They have responded very proactively and positively to a very negative event by focusing on rebuilding a safer, stronger city.”
Ian Fisher, Contracts Manager for the project, commented, “This type of work overseas requires meticulous advance planning. The logistics of the project are much more complex due to the location of the project. It involves identifying where we will source our materials from – either locally or importing them from different locations. This all needs to be factored into the sequencing of lead times. Through close communication with our international supply chain our team can determine the best option for procurement, to help prepare for the numerous challenges that may arise”.
The project is expected to last 22 weeks and will see a site management team working in Kathmandu for the duration of that period. This will be the 42nd country Gilbert-Ash Fit Out have worked in.