Coloured asphalt for urban renewal of old steelworks

Ravenscraig, Motherwell, Scotland



North Lanarkshire Council


GGK Contracts

Location type

Renewal of old steelworks


April 2021

The challenge

A new community leisure and recreational space was planned as part as part of the regeneration of the former Ravenscraig steel works. The striking geometric design, based on a series of circles, incorporated a play area, sports facilities, sensory garden and visitor hub. A safe, accessible surface was needed in colours and Tarmac’s ULTICOLOUR coloured asphalts were specified. However, after budget reviews due to the Covid virus outbreak, an extensive value engineering exercise was undertaken. Alternative materials were considered like resin and painted surfaces, but ULTICOLOUR was considered more likely to retain its finish and minimise future maintenance requirements, a key consideration on this project. It was important to the client that the site should be enjoyed by all users including those with disabilities or mobility issues. 

Our solution

By working collaboratively and with careful selection of materials within the design, a cost-effective solution was found that delivered the architect’s vision within the client’s budget. The final design would combine ULTICOLOUR mid blue and buff quartzite coloured asphalts with a conventional black asphalt to help deliver a highly visual but cost effective solution. ULTICOLOUR asphalts use a clear polymer modified binder, pigment and colour matched aggregates to produce brighter colours than conventional asphalts and a longer lasting finish that resists surface wear and keeps its appearance for longer. They deliver a smooth, even surface that would be safe and accessible for all visitors including wheelchair users. ULTICOLOUR can also be laid quickly using conventional paving equipment, meaning large areas can be completed rapidly, with less labour costs than alternative surfacing materials. 

Results and benefits

The surfacing required on this project was very intricate, with longitudinal joints between conventional black asphalt and the mid-blue ULTICOLOUR being saw cut in a curved design allowing very little margin for error. This required excellent attention to detail from the surfacing contractor to ensure the architects design was fulfilled. ULTICOLOUR asphalts are only available for installation by accredited contractors who have full access to expert training, advice and technical support. As planned, 141 tonnes of ULTICOLOUR 6mm Buff Quartzite & 129 tonnes of ULTICOLOUR 6mm Mid Blue asphalt was delivered to the site and installed by the contractor during March and April 2021. Work was completed to an excellent standard, with ULTICOLOUR bringing the external hard surface design to life and work being delivered within the client’s budget. 

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Helping transform the site of the former steelworks at Ravenscraig

Client testimonial

“The site at Ravenscraig had some operational challenges due to the jointing of two Ulticolour materials, this was also the first outdoor public and social space North Lanarkshire have developed in several years generating substantial interest from all involved. The pre-delivery and accreditation meetings were important in allowing us to deliver a successful project for the main and primary clients. The close working relationship allowed us to plan out each delivery maximising outputs without compromising quality. This is the fourth Ulticolour job that we have completed in three years and despite the challenges, all parties were delighted with the aesthetic finish that we were able to create - enhancing this development in the short and long term. The public will be able to enjoy the colourful pavements for years to come.”
Gary Brown, Managing Director, GGK Contracts.

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