Francis completes £2.1m Hinkley Point project

Francis installed £820,000 of catering equipment at Hinkley Point C.

Francis Commercial Kitchen Services has completed a large-scale £2.1m project to supply catering facilities to EDF Energy’s vast nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point C in Somerset.

EDF is currently building two new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point C and is the UK’s largest producer of low carbon electricity.

The project commenced back in August 2015 at a full day design workshop attended by EDF, Premier Modular, SSE, Somerset Larder and DCE (then part of previous entity Francis Catering Equipment). A comprehensive design brief was made available stating that the East and West building catering facilities should be designed to accommodate 2,100 people in three sittings of 700 with a 20-minute service period, allowing 40 minutes for each sitting to consume their food and clear tables ready for the next sitting.

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Each servery would require a minimum throughput at the payment points of 35 people per minute and kitchen and servery facilities would need to support these numbers. The North building, which houses offices, also required enhanced catering facilities to accommodate 1,160 people, not necessarily in sittings.

The proposal was that there would be an onsite central production unit (CPU) with associated stores to service all three buildings. The intention was that main production of menu items would be undertaken in the CPU and transferred to each of the buildings using ‘cook chill’ production and delivery methods.

The three kitchens would effectively be finishing kitchens requiring enough storage for 2 days of food, dry stores etc. The one proviso to this was that breakfast would not be provided via the CPU and would be fully prepared and served in each building.

Following discussion of each element in greater detail, egg production, batch cooking, table clearing, washing up, delivery from the CPU, storage etc, DCE prepared a layout plan for each building, then attended another half day workshop with the site catering team to submit the design proposals. These were adopted from day one, a detailed design report was also submitted to the design team for approval.

As the whole project was based in modular buildings which were manufactured off site, detailed drawings were provided to allow electrical and mechanical services to be installed during construction alongside fully dimensioned builders work and elevation drawings.

Unlike any normal kitchen installation, all equipment was procured and all stainless steel bespoke fabricated items were manufactured with no opportunity to take any site dimensions. The consequence was that every item of equipment had to be checked and double checked, detailed and confirmed off site before delivery.

A catering facility of this scale in these circumstances is not an easy project to fulfil so management of the project was kept very small to maintain overall control. All operatives attending site had to be fully vetted by EDF including a half day induction.

The delivery and installation of £820,000 of catering equipment to the East building took place over several months as the building works were completed and each area became available. Only one stainless steel table required alteration due to a column being introduced. This was followed by the North and then the West buildings.

Despite difficult site conditions, including too many people in one area, spaces not ready on time, delivery complications and the usual delay on services installations, the site project manager Mike Davidson kept the momentum going and finished each building on time for handover to the client.

The designs/layouts submitted in 2015 by DCE were never revised and although many detailed drawings were submitted during the course of the project to facilitate specific elements, the overall plan layout remained unchanged.

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