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Case Study - Bristol City Council

Organisation : Bristol City Council

Application : Education

Product : Ultima

Location : Bristol

Requirement :

Bristol City Council needed to reduce its procurement times, simplify its facilities management process and at the same time be sure that the standard of modular accommodation it provided was of the highest quality.

Solution :

The Council signed a four-year sole-supplier framework agreement with Portakabin, which radically reduced building procurement times, improved the standard of modular accommodation it could provide, and simplified its facilities management processes.

It means that whenever the council needs to provide offices, classrooms, toilets or any other type of building at short notice, it has a single point of contact at Portakabin who will arrange everything and ensure the new facilities are delivered exactly on time.

Council demands quality and best value from its sole supplier
Portakabin was selected after a rigorous procurement process carried out by the council, in which the modular building suppliers’ products and services were assessed for quality and value for money.

James Howells, Business Development Manager at Portakabin, says: “The Council was looking for genuine best-value, stating that its decision would be based primarily on the quality of products and service offered. We recognised this as an ideal opportunity for us to demonstrate the exceptional value offered by our high-quality modular buildings.”

Track record inspires confidence in Portakabin capabilities
The Council was impressed by the extensive resources offered by Portakabin and its proven track record of successfully delivering large-scale building projects on time, within demanding timescales.

Another crucial factor was the outstanding quality of Portakabin buildings, which deliver market-leading levels of floor space, flexibility, thermal efficiency, durability and aesthetics. It gave the council confidence that whenever it needed to provide interim accommodation for its staff, whether in schools or offices, it could source the highest quality modular buildings available.

Agreement eliminates lengthy building procurement process
Since the agreement was signed, Portakabin has built up a close working relationship with key personnel in the Children and Young People's Services (CYPS) and Property Services Directorates in the Council. Under the agreement, the Council simply contacts the Portakabin Hire Centre in Bristol when they have a building requirement, and the Portakabin team arranges everything.

Because Portakabin is pre-approved as the sole supplier, there is no need for lengthy tendering or contract negotiations. Whether the buildings are hired or purchased, the Bristol Hire Centre coordinates the whole project and acts as the council’s single point of contact, making building procurement simpler and faster than ever.

Framework agreement in action: Shortfall in primary school places
When the Council identified a shortfall in classroom accommodation in seven CYPS locations across the city, it urgently needed to get high-quality facilities in place for the start of the autumn term. Seven buildings ranging in size from one to four classrooms were needed. With the framework agreement in place, the Council went straight to Portakabin for a solution.

Mike Bosdet, Principal Building Surveyor at Bristol City Council, says: “The timescales were so tight that traditional construction was not an option. Portakabin quickly took charge of the project and set about planning the delivery of these buildings down to the very last detail. We went to see some of their recently installed classroom buildings in an adjacent authority and were very impressed by the quality.”

Portakabin takes charge from day one
Portakabin met the Council team to gain a full understanding of their requirements, and visited the seven schools in question, to assess the individual demands and challenges of each site.

Based on its assessment of the CYPS sites, Portakabin proposed a range of buildings that would create the required number of places at each location. These included single and double classroom buildings and a bespoke two-storey, four-classroom Portakabin Ultima modular building. The Council wanted a long-term solution to its accommodation shortage, so decided to purchase the buildings from Portakabin, rather than hire them.

Complete service package gives council a single point of contact
Portakabin took responsibility for every aspect of the project, from seeking planning permission and Building Regulations approval to completing the groundworks and service connections, installing the buildings and fitting them out. Portakabin also supplied access steps and ramps. Such a comprehensive service package gave the Council the reassurance and convenience of dealing with just one company to get all of its buildings in place on time.

Classrooms installed with minimal disruption, right on schedule
The buildings were installed by Portakabin between June and September, to minimise disruption to pupils and teachers, and were in place before the start of the new school year.

Mike continues: “I could not have been more impressed with the installation teams. The whole project management and the office back-up provided by Portakabin were excellent too, and the project was delivered to the budget. I don’t give out praise like this lightly, but Portakabin genuinely earned it on this project.”

The unique Portakabin Customer Charter gives all customers the assurance of such exemplary scheduling and budgeting, with its promise 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.*

Quality buildings deliver long-term solution for Bristol’s schools
Mike adds: “The headteachers were very pleased with the spacious new classrooms and the feedback from the staff using the buildings has been very positive. The buildings are also a very good long-term solution for the Council, giving us the option to relocate them to different sites in future, if necessary.

“Working with Portakabin I had complete confidence in their competence and professionalism, which takes all the worry out of delivering a big project like this.”

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