Crossrail Tunnelling Academy (TUCA)

The facts

Title:   Crossrail Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy (TUCA) 
Client:   Crossrail
Location:  Ilford, east London
Services:  Multidisciplinary
Sector:   Transport
Contract Type:  N/A
Start/Completion:   2010 - 2011

The project

Capita Symonds provided multidisciplinary services on the new Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy (TUCA) that Crossrail is sponsoring at Aldersbrook Sidings, east London.

3500 employees from the Crossrail supply chain will be trained at TUCA before being allowed to work underground on the programme. Areas of study will include the Tunnel Safety Card (TSC), sprayed concrete lining and Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) operations. Crossrail intends to establish a new ‘not for profit’ establishment to manage TUCA.

Capita Symonds provided design, environment, planning, mechanical and electrical engineering and structural engineering services on the project which is situated on the previous Aldersbrook Sidings site on former railway land to the west of Ilford Station. The TUCA site is ‘self contained’ with railway sidings to the north, the Alders Brook to the south west and the River Roding to the east.

Facilities at the spacious new facility will include a simulated TBM environment and Back Up Area and a Locomotive and Narrow Gauge Rail. There will also be a mezzanine level to house four classrooms for teaching.

The main body of the building is encapsulated within a rhythmic horizontal skin of mat black cladding panels which wraps around a simple portal frame construction. The punctuated cladding is cut across the south façade by a red coloured wall before opening up to a grand entrance, foyer and dining area. 

TUCA started to offer training in summer 2011. Following the completion of Crossrail, TUCA will remain open providing a lasting legacy for London and the UK construction industry.

Capita Symonds also devised the planning application strategy for the project which required an unusual approach as the project proposals fell, in part, outside the Crossrail Act and thus required amendments to the existing conditions on the site.

The company then prepared the environmental statement in support of the application that, as well as meeting the normal requirements for such schemes, also had to ensure the project fell within Crossrail’s minimum environmental requirements. Noise and flood risk were also particular issues for the site, requiring detailed input from Capita Symonds environmental and internal noise specialists, as well as its flood risk and drainage specialists.

Capita Symonds’ role came via its place on the Crossrail Design Consultant Framework – the contracting mechanism being used to deliver the designs for all infrastructure in the central tunnel section of the scheme. Capita Symonds won a place on the framework for three lots - tunnels, portals and central stations - late in 2008.

All images © Crossrail