Police Operations Base Bamfurlong, UKBack to Our Work
This project is for the reconfiguration of an existing operational base, locating current functions together in a new, modern facility that will promote collaborative working within the Constabulary.
However, the site isn’t operationally viable to effectively complete a new build and then decant staff out of the old buildings. To complicate matters, certain functions can’t easily be relocated off site. While the majority of the site will be vacated during the construction period, some operations need to be retained on site throughout construction. We have worked with the client and contractor to ensure required operational access is maintained throughout the construction period.
We became involved in the project after the client had reservations about a previously developed scheme. The project was massively over budget, didn’t work operationally and failed to consider the need to maintain operational functionality throughout the build and decant process.
As well as the operational and financial constraints, the existing site is located within the green belt. We worked closely with the planning consultant to build the case for a new, 2-storey building on the site, together with new ancillary buildings. The green belt argument also mean that landscaping became an important part of the design. At the front of the site, a new attenuation pond sits in among new landscaping, helping retain the feeling of green open space and breaking up the new parking the site required. The new 2-storey building has a simple aesthetic. It responds to the green belt environment by having an agricultural feel and keeping the materials simple with an agricultural edge. The result is a contemporary space for the Constabulary.
We were given an exceptionally short programme – only 4 weeks to hold one stakeholder engagement session and then totally redesign the facility.
We had to drive £4m worth of savings (on a project that was sitting at £22m), fix all the operational requirements currently missing and provide a building that met the operational needs.
In addition, we also had to make ensure the design allowed for continuity of service throughout the build and into the operational phase of the new building. We achieved all this and met the OBC date with a fully costed scheme. Chief Constable Rod Hansen stated that our understanding of this client and building was phenomenal, and that we achieved more in 4 weeks than the previous team had in 8 months.
The project then came under more pressure between OBC and FBC as a result of Covid-19 and the project’s funding stream. Again, we were set a massive challenge – to deliver the same operational functionality for £12m. Not being a team to be beaten by a challenge, we set to work looking at ways we could achieve this. The PCC and Chief Constable were under no illusion – it would involve some compromises. But fundamentally, it had to meet operational needs. We worked very hard, analysing existing buildings on site that could be reused and provide a 30+ year life. We looked at modular solutions for some ancillary buildings, and, more importantly, we developed an operational strategy for the building during construction. This involved maintaining access to some existing buildings, providing covert vehicle storage and maintaining some seriously expensive and important comms links during the construction phase. We rose to the challenge and successfully delivered a new scheme that met the cost and operational parameters.
The operational need is fundamental to a successful building, so the end-user engagement is a critical part of the process. We carried out workshops at regular intervals to ensure we were meeting all departmental needs.
This project is heralded as a great success.
Through innovative thinking, commercial acumen and a fast-paced design programme, we drove the project forward in a way that’s viable, cost-effective and deliverable. More importantly, will get built – enabling better policing operations.