When the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust was created in 2006 by the merger of South Yorkshire Ambulance Service, West Yorkshire Metropolitan Ambulance Service and parts of theTees, East and North Yorkshire Ambulance Service, the enlarged organisation needed additional office space across the region. A disused building adjacent to Wakefield Ambulance Station was identified as a suitable site for redevelopment, and various schemes were proposed for its adaptation or reconstruction.Solution :
Estates Manager,Paul Farrell, suggested demolishing the old disused building and replacing it with a brand new modular building. He says: “It seemed like the ideal solution to me. I had been impressed by seeing a complete new modular hospital wing being completed inBradfordin a fraction of the time it would have taken using conventional build methods. The modular building method seems a perfect way to meet the NHS’s urgent requirements for high-quality facilities.
"The Trust had already been working with Portakabin for 18 months or so on the provision of regional rapid-response units, so we knew that its buildings met all permanent building regulations and represented good value for money. In addition, Portakabin is on the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency framework agreement, so there was no need for us to go through a formal tender procedure.”
Paul worked closely with Abbey Construction Consultants, based in Ilkley, to develop a detailed plan for the building and the area around it. They liaised closely with Portakabin so that the modular building supplier could develop proposals for the configuration and layout of the new building, within the footprint of the demolished mortuary. The solution chosen by the Trust was a superior-quality 125m² Portakabin Ultima building, providing six separate offices and a spacious meeting room, as well as toilet facilities and a small kitchen area.
The building was delivered by Portakabin during a weekend, when the car park on site is less congested. The individual modules were craned into position, connected and fully installed by the professional Portakabin team on the Saturday and Sunday. The Trust was assured of a timely delivery of its building by the unique Portakabin Customer Charter, which promises that all buildings will be delivered on time and on budget. Portakabin even promises that if it ever fails to meet this commitment it will provide an additional 12 months’ product warranty, free of charge.*
Paul continues: “Because the building was delivered within our budget, we were able to spend a bit more on completing the site to a high standard, by re-laying the car park, creating a patio break-out area and landscaping the area around the offices. As a result, the attractive new building and its surroundings have really refreshed the whole site. We had previously had problems with vandalism around the disused building, but those have stopped since we installed this bright new building.”
The new offices provide accommodation forWakefield’s assistant director of operations and locality manager, along with their PA, as well as the health and safety manager, clinical team educator and support officer. The large meeting room has quickly become popular with staff from across the region and is always in demand.
Paul adds: “Modular construction seems to me to be the best solution to our need for cost-effective, yet high-quality buildings completed to tight deadlines. It’s also much easier to manage and causes less disruption than a brick and blockwork building project, since there are far fewer on-site trades to coordinate and the construction work is over in a fraction of the time.
“Everyone who now works in the new offices is very pleased with their surroundings and is impressed with the quality of the building. In fact, the only complaints have come from staff based in the adjacent ambulance station building who are now pressing for the scheduled refurbishment of the station to start quickly in order to give them equal quality facilities.”
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