Project details

The Nestlé Group’s £200m expansion of the Tutbury site is its largest global construction project. In December 2012 the Main Contractor on the project, Sisk, awarded O’Brien Contractors an £11.25m groundworks and civil engineering contract to prepare the site for the major construction works.

  • Client: John Sisk and Son
  • Project: Nestlé Factory
  • Location: Tutbury
  • Sector: Manufacturing
  • Value: £11.25 million
  • Contract Duration: 118 weeks
  • Service Civil Engineering, Groundworks, Formworks


As 2012 was the wettest year in UK weather history, and the Tutbury site sits in the middle of the flood plain of two rivers, the original solution O’Brien’s engineer had designed was no longer suitable. To go ahead with it would have meant an additional £250k cost and 3 more weeks on site, as more sodden earth and spoil would have to be dug out and transported to landfill than originally accounted for.

The original design required O’Brien’s vehicles to pass through Nestlé’s existing factory complex on the same roads used by staff and visitors making at least 9,000 20T lorry movements to remove over 40,500m3 of spoil not suitable for re-use, which equated to an estimated 270,000 miles of haulage (16.5T CO2).


The saturated ground conditions made a solution that would not have originally occurred to designers the ideal option. O’Brien Contractors realised that using lime stabilisation would mean that spoil wouldn’t have to be removed from the site and could instead be used to create stable conditions for alternative site road access. It could also be used for the working hard standings for the construction works and to provide stable conditions for the buildings, roads and yards required in the final development. This would reduce risks, cut costs and save time.

O’Brien worked with specialist subcontractor TR Stabilisation and put together a feasibility study to present to Sisk. This was then taken to Nestlé’s team leader, Faithful+Gould, showing the problem that had been created by the weather conditions and the suggested solution, along with indicative costs and programme implications.

The innovative idea was then presented to the team at Nestle who agreed that it was the best solution.


“O’Brien Contractors involvement was the catalyst in developing the most cost effective and least environmentally damaging solution to the problem of a saturated site and they have been a crucial factor to the success of the project.”
Ian Donaldson, Project Director, Sisk

“O’Brien Contractors have brought significant value, innovation and safety improvements to our project at Tutbury and we have been very impressed with their contribution.”
Simon Cardwell, Project Mangement, Faithful+Gould

“O’Brien’s have established themselves as a key member of the team and their organisation and experience has seen them successfully overcome all construction, design and health and safety and environmental issues. I would certainly recommend them for future schemes of a similar nature.”
Norman Skea, Project Manager UK, Nestle

Key Benefits

Cut costs by £800,000
Reduced lorry movements by c7,000
Saved 21K haulage miles (15T CO2)
Sent no spoil to landfill
Reduced imported stone by 70%
Created safer stable site for ongoing construction work