READ Construction

Chester Zoo,
The Islands

Innovative | Sustainable | CollaborativeOptimised Construction Solutions


Project name: Chester Zoo, The Islands

Location: Chester, Cheshire

Contract: NEC3 EEC Option A

Value: £4,600,000

Duration: 27 Weeks


New development to recreate 6 South East Asian Islands environments. The development – the largest in UK zoo history – was delivered to CEEQUAL Excellent environmental standard.

COLLABORATIVE – Read’s delivery team collaboratively engaged with the client team to ensure the interface with other, directly appointed contractors was managed and that work areas could be completed and handed over to achieve the challenging programme constraints. To manage the construction of 12 individual structures across the 14 acre site, read employed a full time site team including 6 site managers, 1 project manager and 2 graduates.

SUSTAINABLE –   Aligned with the Zoo’s conservation and sustainability agenda, the project was required to be delivered to CEEQUAL Excellent standard. Read’s expertise and experience in Zoo theming works facilitated engagement of specialist trades with demonstrated responsible material sourcing and ethical treatment of 3rd and 4th tier suppliers.

COMMUNICATION – Local interest and the high profile nature of the project required sensitive consideration. The project supported Read’s ongoing employee training programme with the appointment of 2nr graduate positions on site. Read’s team created a Facebook page for the development to ensure local interest could be communicated and responded to.


The complex nature of the project and unique combination of strutural and environmental requirements resulted in the project being awarded the 2016 IStructE award for Large Project.

What was said ...
  • IStructE Judges | 2016 IStruct Awards

    This was the largest development project in the history of British zoos. The engineers dealt with very complex geometry, in the provision of new structures. The engineer responded to a unique combination of structural and environmental requirements, along with physical and end user constraints, to provide a real boost to Chester’s Zoo.

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