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Harmsworth Quays Printing Ltd


The project comprises the construction of a new printing press facility for Harmsworth Quays Printing Ltd who print the Daily Mail.

The Project

The building totals 109,520 sq ft comprising 102,860 sq ft of production space and 6,660 sq ft of offices over two floors together with extensive mezzanine areas and bespoke reinforced concrete works to serve the various print related processes associated with production. The building comprises a structural steel frame up to 15.5m clear internal height and is clad in profiled metal cladding with internal 2 hr full height composite insulated panel fire walls separating business sensitive areas. The site itself is a reclaimed PFA lagoon and is adjacent to an extremely ecologically sensitive area which has involved translocating insect and creating new insect habitats in the gabion basket retaining walls supporting the access road. The external lighting fittings and design were specified to minimise light spread and disturbance for the indigenous great crested newts, water voles, burrowing wasps and jumping red spiders. Being constructed on the ‘crust’ on the PFA lagoon extensive piling was required with over 2,700 precast concrete piles driven down to 28m. These were critical to support the settlement sensitive reinforced concrete inertia block supporting the weight of the press installation which, weighing 3,500 tonnes and stretching 165 metres, is believed to be the longest single line printing press in the world.


The scheme is equipped with several sustainable installations; solar thermal hot water heating system and a 100,000 litre grey water recycling system, used in the water osmosis printing process together with the now more common place uses of PIR (Passive Infra-Red) and lux sensors to activate lighting in the most efficient manner and leak detection to prevent water wastage. All services installations are controlled by a fully integrated Building Management System to optimise their efficiency. Externally the project includes storm water attenuation tanks extending under large areas of the service yard to keep the runoff into the adjacent watercourses at ‘green field’ discharge rates and a 40,000 litre, 5.5m deep ink waste storage tank to contain the waste product prior to recycling. Kerbing and drainage products using recycled materials were also used throughout. The printing process itself recycles all waste paper and packaging and uses 50% recycled paper in the printing process. One of the most challenging elements of the scheme was to provide gas and particularly electricity services for the process which required a huge 7MVA. The point of connection for both of these was a mile from the site and for the electricity supply which was required at HV necessitated the planning, design and construction of a 33KV primary substation on site together with an 11KV step-down transformer to feed the ring of HV/LV transformers inside the building itself. It was a rare requirement for a primary substation for a single user, together with the size and distance, which made the delivery from a standing start to live service in under a year by the team such a success.

Date of completion: June 2012

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