Case Study - 3 Central Square, Cardiff, UK

Project data

  • Customer
  • Rightacres
  • Value
  • £65m
  • Area
  • Circa 200,000sq ft, excluding plant and basement areas
  • Procurement route
  • Single stage (Negotiated)
  • Form of contract
  • JCT 11 Design and Build
  • Programme duration
  • 122 weeks
  • Completion date
  • April 2018
  • Project Manager
  • Gleeds
  • Architect
  • Fosters and Partners
  • Quantity Surveyor
  • Gleeds
  • Structural Engineer
  • Arup
  • M&E Engineer
  • Arup


This key development in the heart of Cardiff saw us successfully hand over the new BBC Cymru Wales headquarters at Central Square on programme and on budget. The project was built to high specifications (both in terms of performance and aesthetics) driven by Rightacres, BBC Wales and Fosters & Partners. The building is not only impressive in finish with a central open atrium providing impact and natural light at the entrance to the impressive headquarters, it also meets specific acoustic and sustainability goals.

To view internal drone footage of the project click here

For a virtual tour of the project click here



The state-of-the-art BBC Cymru Wales headquarters is the most advanced regional hub in the broadcaster’s portfolio and the very first BBC facility in the UK to use live IP Technology. The striking building is the centre piece for the wider redevelopment of the Cardiff gateway and is the anchor for the whole Central Square development. We provided a robust approach to value engineering and made significant efficiencies in relation to cost, complexity and improved speed of delivery, helping us achieve the all-important on-time completion within budget, whilst preserving client objectives and build quality.

What we did

The 122-week programme saw ISG create a 75,000 sq ft basement structure by installing secant piles and excavating approximately 50,000 cubic metres of material, which was removed and re-used off site. The building uses a hybrid structure, with a reinforced concrete frame to ground floor level, concrete cores and a 2,000 tonne steel frame superstructure for the upper floors.

Within the shell, the internal spaces follow a cellular design with the broadcast centre providing box-in-box studios which achieve the vital high levels of acoustic attenuation to be achieved in studio spaces.

The project also focused heavily on community development. The team actively engaged with local charities and community groups to ensure that the project was viewed positively by neighbours and visitors to the city centre, as they disembarked at Cardiff Central station. The project was awarded a Gold national site award by the Considerate Constructors Scheme for best practice in the construction industry.

“To hand a building over of this scale and complexity exactly on time and budget is an amazing achievement. We signed the agreement for the lease back in December 2014 and the predicted handover date was today – it has been a fantastic effort by all parties”.
Alan Bainbridge, Director of Property, BBC


Sustainability and environmental design were important considerations for the BBC. From the outset, the team was tasked with achieving a ‘BREEAM Outstanding’ environmental rating. As the foremost assessment for environmental sustainability, it consists of a multi-criterion audit process throughout preconstruction, delivery and handover. Criteria such as carbon output, energy and water usage were taken into consideration.

Sustainability features of the building include energy-generating photovoltaic cells, rainwater harvesting elements and a roof-top ecological garden.