KGX1 is the project name for Google’s giant new UK headquarters. Currently under construction in London’s redeveloped Kings Cross neighbourhood, this giant landscraper of a building is 330m long and eleven stories high; its 80,000 square metres of office space will accommodate up to 7000 Google employees.

construction of google hq

Google WysePower for Temporary Site Services

Lendlease is the main contractor responsible for construction of this unique project. It appointed WysePower, the complete site solutions provider, to deliver temporary power, water and drainage to the site.

From the outset, WysePower supported Lendlease – this is WysePower’s preferred way of working, the earlier the team can get involved, the more supportive they can be.

WysePower worked with the contractor to establish the scope of the temporary works, developed outline designs for the temporary site services installation and proposed cable and pipe routes.

As the project progressed and detailed plant and equipment data sheets became available, WysePower used its in-house experience of demand diversification to refine and optimise the temporary services.

“The bigger the supply the more it will cost. When sizing the power supply to five tower cranes, for example, we know from experience it is unlikely all five cranes will be operating at maximum power simultaneously. We’ll use a combination of experience and data to optimise the size of the supply in order to provide our client with the most cost effective solution,” says WysePower’s regional director Shaun Byron.

The WysePower solution

Alongside temporary power, WysePower also supplied and installed the site lighting system. This had to accommodate the building’s unconventional structure, where the beams to support the floor plates are located in the floor void, instead of at high level, to enable the office floors to be easily adapted.

This unusual structural arrangement necessitated a re-think in the way WysePower installed its on-floor temporary lighting to illuminate access and escape routes. The floor beams prevented the use of a scissor lift, while the risk of damage to the surface finish meant lighting supports could not be attached to the columns. Instead, WysePower’s solution was to use a series of brackets attached to the floor beams to support a series of steel posts from which a catenary cable could be suspended, or floodlights mounted directly.

WysePower is also responsible for the provision of water to both the site and its welfare facilities. Part way through the project, to enhance Covid protection measures, WysePower relocated some welfare facilities and wash hand basins to provide additional hand washing facilities while ensuring the 2m social distancing was maintained.

In addition, to help prevent damage to the building’s finishes from water leaks, WysePower’s proactive approach included fitting a programmable Site Guard valve to the mains to automatically turn off the water supply outside of operational hours.

Image of Google HQ

Site services supplied

Temporary power is supplied to site via two 11kV three phase electrical supplies, one at each end of the plot. On-site, WysePower’s HV transformers step the voltage down to 415V for distribution via its three-phase, 1200 amp panels and mains distribution units (MDUs). The voltage is stepped down further to a site-safe 110V on each of the building’s floors to supply lighting and small power. Separate MDUs with 32amp, three-phase supplies supply power to larger plant items, such as goods and people hoists.

Our expert WysePeople

In-house staff and state-of-the-art equipment ensure that WysePower’s temporary services are always available. For additional peace of mind, WysePower maintained a full-time member of staff and an apprentice on-site ready to troubleshoot issues as they arise to ensure the project remains on track. A legacy of the project is that by the time construction is complete, the apprentice will have flourished into a fully qualified electrician, having gained experience on one of the most iconic construction projects of its day.

What our client said

Derek Fifield, Lendlease senior construction manager MEP, KGX1 Project says: “I have worked with the WysePower Team on KGX1 for 4 years (including through the pandemic) and in that time their commitment has been second to none.

“Following the site’s shutdown during lockdown, WysePower attended the site to put in place measures to ensure 2m social distancing could be maintained. This included alterations to the site welfare facilities and welfare toilets and to the temporary power supplying these to allow for improved access. Wash hand basins were also relocated, water points were installed on-site for hand washing along with additional WC’s. WysePower achieved this while maintaining temporary power and safety lighting to site as construction progressed”.