Gibside School

Wates Construction overcomes Covid challenge to deliver new Gateshead SEN school

Wates Construction has completed its first project for Gateshead Council with the delivery of a £12m new school for children with special educational needs (SEN).

The new Gibside SEN School saw Wates complete all construction services, including structural, M&E and landscape design. Its build allows the relocation of 177 primary school pupils and more than 100 staff from the existing school, which was previously split over two sites in Blaydon seven miles away and Whickham six miles away.

Its innovative design was created by local Gateshead architect Julia Soulsby, and features a single-story structure with a complex roof across 10 different levels, using four different roof types. Internally, it comprises of 21 different classrooms, a hydrotherapy pool, sports hall, dining and assembly hall, an internal courtyard and sensory rooms.

The project was procured through SCAPE Construction, a direct award framework designed by the UK’s leading procurement authority to drive collaboration, efficiency, time and cost savings on construction projects.

Delivering social value

As part of this, delivering social value is a priority. Over the course of the build Wates provided 22 work experience weeks, spent £71k with Social Enterprises, ensured 89 per cent of labour was from within a 40 mile radius, and provided employability workshops for 224 local people.

In addition, Wates held an employability and training event at HMP Northumberland for 11 prisoners due for release within the following six months. All were located within 10 miles of the Gibside site, giving them vital skills to build a career upon release, with one ex-offender subsequently given a position with Wates.

Construction began in October 2019, and despite potential delays due to Covid-19 and adverse weather conditions at the start of the build, the site was delivered on time and to the utmost safety, with a socially distant handover ceremony on February 15th.

A fantastic achievement

David Wingfield, business unit director of Wates Construction in Yorkshire & North East, said: “The handover of this project is a fantastic achievement for all involved. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, our teams and partners have worked tirelessly and used huge amounts of initiative to deliver this state-of-the-art facility, within budget and to the specific design requirements of the school.

“This project’s success is not only limited to the building, but in the way it has maximised its benefit to the community. The council made it clear this build should provide as many training and employment opportunities as possible. Whether through apprenticeships, career events, supporting local supply chains or social enterprises, we have continuously tried to make sure our work is leaving a positive lasting legacy for Gateshead.

“At the heart of this success was a genuine one-team approach between ourselves, the client’s in-house design and delivery teams and the supply chain where there was meaningful early collaboration from pre-construction right through to completion. It is a testament to what can be achieved when we work together and I want to sincerely thank all who made it possible.”

Councillor Haley, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said “We have an increasing need for specialist education school places in Gateshead and I’m very proud that we’re now able to offer a purpose built, state-of-the-art school, which has been designed around the needs of children aged 3-11 years. This new school will bring additional benefits to some of our most vulnerable children and ensure that they continue to get an outstanding start in education.

“I’d also like to thank Wates Construction Group and the project delivery team, who despite facing many additional challenges due to the ongoing pandemic, have worked hard to ensure the children can move into the new school as planned.”

Mark Robinson, group chief executive at SCAPE, said: “The new school will have a positive and lasting impact on the lives of SEN children and their families right across the Gateshead community. Not only has the project been delivered on time and within budget, but the commitment to maximising social value will ensure that the school leaves a lasting legacy for the local area – a true testament to the project teams at Wates and Gateshead Council.

The Gibside project marks the first completion in a number of primary schools currently being delivered by Wates, including one in Huddersfield and a further five in the North West, which are all using modern methods of construction (MMC) extensively through their builds.

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Operating an essential site during uncertain times

I have been in the construction business for a long time and I don’t think I have ever worked on a project that somebody didn’t consider essential.

From our perspective, there is a business imperative attached to every project of course but they also represent so much more than that.

A construction project is a huge undertaking and is often the realisation of the hopes and dreams of a whole team of people who have toiled for years before the first shovel gets anywhere near the ground. Also, every project, big or small, has the potential to be transformational and to create a legacy that will change people’s lives.

Delivering successful construction projects is rarely a matter of life and death but it should never be underestimated how critical they are to the people behind them and, equally importantly, the people who will benefit from them in the future.

 

Adapting to a new world

It is a responsibility we take incredibly seriously at Wates and one that weighed heavily when the current crisis began to take hold during those increasingly uncertain weeks in March of this year.

When the lockdown was announced, we had no choice but to close our sites along with many other businesses in the country. In those two days that the sites were closed, our teams were working around the clock, adapting and evolving processes so that we could re-open the sites while ensuring the safety and wellbeing of everybody involved.

In normal times every site offers a range of different challenges that have to be overcome, all of which were then exacerbated by the new restrictions and the more complex the project, the more innovative our teams have had to be to get the project running again.

 

Nottingham City Hub – a transformational facility

One of the most challenging – and important – projects we are currently delivering in the Midlands is the Nottingham City Hub, a major new education and community facility that will transform a previously neglected city centre district.

Surrounded on four sides by a main arterial route, residential developments, tram lines and a cliff edge, there have been numerous obstacles to overcome throughout this project and so everyone involved has had to really go the extra mile to ensure the project has remained on track throughout this period.

From ensuring that all colleagues, sub-contractors and suppliers could actually get to the site to dealing with issues around social distancing and the difficulty in obtaining materials, the team have been exceptional. In fact, across our sites we have found that not only have our teams found a way to take projects forward, some are doing so more efficiently than before the crisis begun!

Indeed, we are seeing great innovation where the supply chain is adapting to new ways of working to combat the challenges of social distancing, introducing mechanical solutions for tasks like the installation of glazed balustrades, allowing for the extra manpower to be prepping rather than helping with the installation itself.

All of this fantastic work means that the project is on target for completion at the beginning of October. This will see us deliver a vision that will not only change the cityscape in this part of Nottingham but provide a real legacy for many years to come that goes beyond this fantastic building itself, something I would definitely describe as essential.

The state-of-the-art project is being procured through Major Works – UK, a part of the Scape National Construction framework. The framework has been specifically designed to deliver significant levels of local economic engagement, ongoing apprenticeship schemes and extensive community initiatives.

Commenting on the progress, Mark Robinson, Scape Group chief executive said:

“It’s been fantastic to see everybody involved with the project come together during these uncertain times. An increase in collaboration across the supply chain has been key to help minimise the ongoing disruption and allow the project to safely remain on track for completion this year.

“As we look towards a sustainable recovery from the current crisis, projects like the Nottingham City Hub are vital to ensure that opportunities to support and nurture the younger generation and their communities remain firmly in place.”

Written by:

John Carlin
Regional MD Wates Construction Midlands

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Working together to create environmental sustainability and enhancement

A collaborative initiative to protect and enhance the environment.

Climate change is an issue Scape Group and our partners are passionate about and one which we are now making a collective commitment to address, with the creation of a long-term sustainability strategy to protect and enhance the environment through our operations.

Collectively, the public sector recognises we face a dire Climate Emergency, with over half of the local authorities in the UK declaring a Climate Emergency. The scientific consensus on man-made climate change is clear. Now, decisive action is needed to make a positive change – Something that our people, our partners and the industry are all in agreement with.

 

The challenge

Recent figures from the National Federation of Builders’ War on Carbon report reveal that the construction industry is directly responsible for 10% of UK carbon emissions, and influences a further 47% – Meaning that either directly or indirectly, more than half of the our country’s emissions are linked to construction and the buildings and infrastructure assets we create and maintain.

Even on just one construction project, on one day, multiple skips of waste can be generated, numerous vehicle journeys made, and large quantities of energy and water consumed. By their very nature, construction projects will have a negative effect on the environment – Unless we make conscious decisions to do things differently.

Sustainability is a huge topic, and there are countless opportunities for improvement. From designing out waste, collaboration to improve material specification and sourcing or closer scrutiny of the lifecycle of materials, to targeting fleet emissions and consistently using renewable energy suppliers on our construction sites.

We know this is a big challenge, but we are ready. Our partners are ready. The industry is ready and keen to implement change. We are uniting as one voice to share innovations and ambitions, working together to make ideas bigger, better and more successful, for the benefit of our planet.

It is time for the construction industry, as many others have done, to accept its role in the climate emergency. We must be bold, ambitious and strong in our commitments.

 

Our response

“In an industry first, we’re bringing together our delivery partners and their technical supply chains across the UK to harness our collective power and influence, making construction a force for positive change.”

Mark Robinson
Scape Group chief executive

We hope to involve all our partners in this collaborative initiative, who will bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table, as well as a collective passion and drive for improvement.

Scape has been a social value-led organisation for many years, embedding community improvement and sustainable outputs into all our projects.

As a National Social Value Taskforce member, we have actively contributed to improving the National Themes, Outcomes and Measures (TOMs) to capture and value the environmental measures delivered on every project.

But this reinforced commitment to sustainability represents an even bigger ambition. We are building on our strong social value foundations and exploring the opportunities to extend social value performance management to cover wider environmental considerations.

This will form an integral part of our long-term vision, both as a socially responsible organisation, and as a leading voice for the industry. Our sustainability strategy for the next 3, 6 and 9 years is structured around the following commitment: Working together to create environmental sustainability and enhancement.

Our partners and public sector colleagues are already taking great strides in achieving this, and we will be showcasing some of the very best sustainability innovations in the coming months. Harnessing the advances already in use and implementing them more widely is the first step on our collective journey towards carbon-neutrality and environmental health.

Team Scape are currently delivering more than 1,800 projects across the UK, worth around £6.3bn, and we have a collective buying power of £12bn. It’s our responsibility to make sure these projects leave a positive legacy for future generations and demonstrate what a good, environmentally conscious construction project looks like.

Whilst many clients are reducing the impact of their projects on the local environment, we’re proposing a much more holistic approach.

“For us, this is about raising the bar of what we can achieve together, not just locally, but on a more national and global scale.”

Mark Robinson
Scape Group chief executive

We don’t know all the answers – far from it. But we want to learn more, to bring the industry together and to innovate, with everyone playing their part.

We need input and buy in from all angles of the construction industry – from SMEs to multi-national tier 1 contractors, public and private sector clients across the UK to industry bodies. If we are to succeed, we must come together.

 

Next steps

We will be looking at Team Scape’s current sustainability activities, ambitions and innovations, sharing lessons learned and best practice adoption. We will also be putting our own operations under the microscope to make sure we are doing our bit.

Our strategy and approach will be shared with our public sector shareholders and clients to ensure we are shaping our solutions aligned to their ambitions and priorities.

The Team Scape research and development working group will meet regularly, identifying key areas for improvement and defining specific, measurable objectives to achieve our goals.

Our door is open for industry dialogue and I truly believe that together, we can make a real difference.

Written by:

Mark Robinson
Group Chief Executive

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Wates Appointed As Main Contractor To Build Sandwell Aquatics Centre

Contract award follows Wates’ appointment in spring 2019 to deliver pre-construction works for the world-class leisure facility.

Wates Construction has been confirmed as the main contractor for the new Sandwell Aquatics Centre in Smethwick.

The state-of-the-art facility will create a lasting legacy for community health and wellbeing with its 50m Olympic-sized swimming pool as well as a 25m diving pool, community swimming pool and seats for up to 1,000 spectators.

Wates has also made a commitment to local spend and job creation, including supporting its supply chain in taking on apprentices and helping them transfer into permanent positions upon completion. The company will also engage with local schools to deliver work experience placements on site, encouraging diverse demographics into an industry combating growing skills shortages.

John Carlin, Regional Managing Director for Wates Construction Midlands, said it was an honour to be part of this exciting regeneration story:

“Here in the West Midlands we’re currently experiencing a tremendous renaissance in our local infrastructure. This project – and the wider regeneration of the borough of Sandwell – will create a lasting legacy for local residents and put Sandwell on the map for its world-class facility.

Every project we deliver has the community at its heart and we’re looking forward to working alongside our partners to ensure this project provides significant economic and social value from the outset. The result will be a landmark facility that will be transformational for this borough.

We’re pleased to sign the formal contract confirming our position as main contractor and now have two years of a challenging but hugely exciting build ahead of us.”

Ground breaking took place in September 2019 to prepare the site for construction and the initial building work on the £73m project is set to complete in spring 2022 with final handover to Sandwell Council in May 2023 when the building will be open to the public.

Other facilities at the aquatics centre will include three activity studios, two 4-court sports halls, a 108-station fitness suite with a 25-station ladies-only gym, dry diving facilities, an indoor cycling studio, a new football pitch, a café and changing facilities including a sauna/steam room. Externally, a new urban park will feature a children’s play area.

Councillor Maria Crompton, cabinet member for Sandwell Council with the responsibility for leisure added:

“We’re excited that the main building work on this landmark leisure centre has started. The aquatics centre will give us an international-standard venue for the local community, replacing ageing leisure facilities with a modern hub designed to promote health and wellbeing across the district.”

Wates, which was appointed via Major Works – UK, part of the Scape National Construction framework, is based just four miles away in Quinton and is already using its role on the project to provide significant economic and social benefits to Sandwell’s businesses and residents.

The contractor is also currently completing delivery of a £32.8m leisure centre in Braywick, Berkshire, including a 10-lane swimming pool, splash pools and employing an eco-friendly approach that will see the centre use 70% less energy than its predecessor.

Notes to Editors

Wates Construction

Wates Construction has a long track record of providing more for less to its clients across both the public and private sectors. Working on projects across a variety of different areas, including education, commercial, heritage, local authority frameworks and mixed-use, Wates Construction specialises in maximising value by finding the most intelligent and creative ways to deliver outstanding buildings.

About Wates Group

The Wates Group, established in 1897, is one of the leading privately-owned construction, development and property services businesses in the UK. We employ approximately 4,000 people and together, we inspire better ways of creating the places, communities and businesses of tomorrow.

The Group generated turnover of £1.60bn in 2018. Wates was named Construction News’ Contractor of the Year in 2017; Building Magazine’s Major Contractor of the Year in 2016 and was awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Sustainable Development for the second time in 2016. Wates was the first large contractor ever to be awarded Business in the Community’s Community Mark and in 2013 was awarded the inaugural National Business Award for Corporate Citizenship in recognition of our leadership and excellence in community investment. In 2017 Wates was named Organisation of the Year at the inaugural UK Social Mobility Awards. Wates is an Investors in People Gold accredited company.

www.wates.co.uk

Follow us on Twitter @WatesGroup

Follow us on LinkedIn @Wates

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Warrington Set Out On New Housing Venture

In an increasingly uncertain political and economic environment, local councils are under more pressure than ever to find new ways of generating revenue to fund investment and development in their towns and cities.

Some authorities are looking to build up substantial property portfolios to generate a return, others use commercial development to expand tax receipts, whilst a small number have adopted more inventive approaches, for example establishing companies to sell merchandise at concerts.

Unless a development partner is brought in, councils then have a choice of funding projects through the use of capital budgets, grants, borrowing through the Public Works Loans Board, or indeed a mix of these.

Sifting through the procurement minefield

Once this has been decided, there’s a minefield of procurement choices to sift through, from the various forms of OJEU tendering to an increasing number of public sector frameworks.

But what about the organisations who are wedged in the middle, with characteristics from both the public and private sector?

Incrementum, Warrington Borough Council’s new housing development company, is a perfect example of this.

The company is funded through a commercial loan from the Council, but has been created as a private commercial enterprise, tasked with delivering 600 new homes for rent over the next five years and creating a sustainable income to be reinvested back into the Council. The aim is set a standard for modern living in Warrington, supporting multi-generational living and encouraging young people to live in the area as opposed to the big cities.

This is where Scape Venture has offered the ideal procurement solution. Whilst the framework doesn’t carry the full suite of requirements of the OJEU-compliant Scape Procure, it provides the same responsible procurement approach and focus on social value that the Council, as ultimate owners, expect.

Balancing speed and efficiency with value for money and cost certainty

Through the Venture framework, Incrementum has benefited from a procurement solution that balances speed and efficiency with value for money and cost certainty, providing invaluable early support to take potential housing sites from concept design and budget development, through the planning process and ultimately to site for construction.

Add this to a jointly selected design team who are all working towards a common goal, and Incrementum has everything it needs to inform its business case and economic viability, from the most efficient layout and a robust budget, to a programme and logistics strategy and early commitments to achieving objectives around sustainability, modern methods of construction and local labour, all through a single, straightforward procurement exercise.

These attributes can be vital when building to set timescales, as Jonathan Smith, the Manager of Incrementum, notes:

“The overwhelming benefit of Scape Venture is that it allows Incrementum to access a full range of professional services under one pre-qualifying contract. This saves considerable time on procurement, and also has the added advantage of allowing us to work directly with the main contractor throughout the initial stages, thus ensuring the housing is designed for maximum efficiency and buildability.”

Robust budget that informs business case and viability

Viability is key to every Incrementum scheme, and our early budget advice during feasibility stage enables Incrementum to assess its business case before committing to a particular scheme.

We prepare a robust budget that gives the client confidence that there will only be one request for funding, before driving down the cost plan through innovative design and a rigorous survey process. Again, this has major benefits, as Jonathan notes:

“It is important to provide some degree of cost certainty when the Company seeks its commercial loan. The fact that the costs have been provided by the intended builder gives the funder – in this case the Council – a level of confidence that it would not otherwise have. This also gives our overall business plan additional weight.”

Wates is already progressing plans for four sites across the borough, including a mix of low-level housing and mid-rise apartment schemes. Ultimately the aspiration is to set a brand for the borough, whereby units immediately look and feel like an Incrementum property.

Helping Incrementum deliver Warrington’s housing needs is an exciting opportunity for the Wates North West team, and through an efficient and socially responsible route provided by Scape Venture, we look forward to building a valued relationship with a potential repeat customer.

Alan White, Regional Business Manager North West

07932 276033
Alan.White@wates.co.uk

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How Wates can help in achieving the Mayors ambitious Homes for Londoners targets

“We need to build 2000 homes in the next 5 years.”

When I am talking to Local Authorities across London about their targets and needs these are the type of figures they are wrestling with, and sometimes the numbers can be much higher. Right now, housing starts and completions are in the property and construction press, and in the mainstream press with regular announcements of new commitments, promises of new funding and also criticism of under delivery.

The Mayor’s target of 65,000 homes in London per year with 50% affordable presents an excellent target but can also be very challenging for Councils to respond to and achieve.

With huge numbers on waiting lists and in temporary housing, addressing the accommodation needs of Londoners seems to be one of the hottest subjects in town. With Councils under pressure from all sides to deliver more and spend less, getting a housing scheme from a strategic plan, through to site and then occupied by residents can take years.

So after a Council has; identified a need, found a suitable site, procured the site if necessary, engaged with planning, and the local community, applied for grants, dealt with the GLA and government compliance rules, agreed a workable tenure mix; only then may they actually have some head space to start thinking how best to procure and build the scheme that they may already have put years of work into.

It is at this point that Wates Residential can assist and lift some of the burden in turning an outline business case into a developed proposal. The team has huge experience in delivering residential schemes of all types across London and beyond from 40 storey high rises to more suburban schemes of 2 & 3 storeys, and with numbers of units from 30 – 300.

One quick and easy way to engage with our team of experts is through the Scape Framework. Through this public sector framework Clients can engage Wates Residential quickly on any scheme valued £10m to £50m throughout the UK. Scape can provide lots of the social value benefits that Local Authorities are looking for such as local employment and utilisation of local supply chains and SME’s. For myself, the biggest benefit and USP for engaging Wates via Scape is the speed that we can commence plus the free of charge feasibility service we can offer. We can have a discussion one day and commence a feasibility the following week. The aims of the feasibility can be tailored to the project or the Client needs, and its overall goal is to provide a proposal with professional advice on the costs, programme, buildability, design and risks associated with a project. This provides a clear base line for Officers to confirm funding requirements to Councillors and provides a clear route map of the next steps for moving the scheme forward.

Wates Residential is currently in different stages of design development and pre-construction with four London Boroughs via the Scape procurement route, for housing schemes which together have the potential to provide over 500 homes for Londoners.

As I’ve mentioned already, increasingly we are supporting clients with actions and ways to get housing projects delivered at pace. As our success increases, I’m getting some positive feedback about our proactive and honest approach which enables projects to progress. If you have schemes you want to get moving in 2020, feel free to contact me if you want some advice and a chat over a coffee. I’m happy to share our lessons learned and introduce you to the Residential team so that we can work together to deliver the homes Londoners needs.

Alex Jefferson, Regional Business Director, Scape South East

07793 883215
alex.jefferson@wates.co.uk

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City Hub contractor consolidates commitment to Nottingham

As construction of the new Nottingham College City Hub campus accelerates past the halfway point, Wates Construction has confirmed a raft of benefits already brought by the project to the people of Nottingham.

Through construction of the £58m educational facility – set to accommodate 2,000 students each year when it opens in September 2020 – Wates has created a host of employment and training opportunities for young people and supported a range of local businesses and community groups.

Over 80% of the entire City Hub supply chain has been sourced from businesses within a 40 mile radius of the site and just under 25% of the full £23,881,187 supply chain spend was sourced from within a 10 mile radius.

Wates has also enlisted the support of a range of social enterprises (SEs) to help deliver the project, including Recycling Lives, Nuneaton Signs Ltd and Radiant Cleaners Ltd, all of which have benefited from the total SE investment figure currently standing at over £61,000.

All of these efforts form part of the project’s procurement via Major Works – UK, part of Scape’s National Construction framework. The framework has been specifically designed to deliver significant levels of local economic engagement, ongoing apprenticeship schemes and extensive community initiatives.

“From the outset of the Nottingham City Hub build, we have been focused upon supporting the college’s employability ambitions and also ensuring the wider Nottingham community benefits from our presence on site.

“Built into our company ethos is a commitment to provide tangible, economic and social impacts that can truly be felt at all levels. As a result of our varied activities here in Nottingham, we know that when the City Hub campus opens next September, we will leave behind a legacy that extends far beyond this fantastic building.”

JOHN CARLIN, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF WATES CONSTRUCTION MIDLANDS

“We’re proud to play our part in the regeneration of a significant area of our city centre, improving not only the economic prosperity of the Southside zone but leaving a fantastic lasting legacy for further education in Nottingham. Before the project started it was always our intention to create many employability opportunities for students and give young people across the City the chance to experience the sheer scale of the build and I am pleased we have been able to do this.”

JOHN VAN DE LAARSCHOT, NOTTINGHAM COLLEGE CEO

“This is a very important project for Nottingham College as investing in further and higher education remains a key priority to ensuring the educational future of our young people. By procuring this project with Scape, Nottingham College is guaranteeing certainty that the City Hub will be delivered with efficiency and real social value embedded at its heart.”

MARK ROBINSON, SCAPE GROUP CHIEF EXECUTIVE

With week 80 of 117 now underway, Nottingham residents will observe finishing touches to the building taking place over the coming weeks, including the installation of windows and exterior cladding.

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Creating efficiency through collaborative working

Helen Drennan shares her insight on the importance of collaboration in construction and the successes the industry achieves through partnership working. Collaborative working underpins everything Wates does. This is a core value we share with our partners at Scape Group and one that enabled us to take Teesside University’s Cornell Quarter from feasibility to start on-site in just 24 weeks.

It has long been a firm belief of Wates that adopting partnership working is the key to truly delivering successful projects. It creates a healthy working environment where everyone can understand each others objectives, and this results in open and honest conversations that simply wouldn’t be possible if we all worked in silos.

In April 2019, we started on-site at Teesside University’s Cornell Quarter, a new student accommodation development that forms part of the university’s £300m campus masterplan. Cornell Quarter was procured through the Scape Venture framework and it has become a project that truly demonstrates the efficiency that can be brought to privately funded projects when procured through Scape, and the key to all this is collaboration.

‘Project concept to start on-site in just 24 weeks’

Cornell Quarter went from feasibility study to start on-site in an unprecedented 24 weeks, which is a fantastic achievement by the Wates team, Scape Group and of course our client at Teesside University.

Having recently completed Teesside University’s National Horizons Centre, the Wates team began conversations with the university about how to make this priority project possible within the necessary timescales. We needed an effective and efficient solution and we collectively rose to the challenge. Design, risk, buildability, surveys, site logistics and supply chain were all managed meticulously. Our specialists know what it takes to get the job done but I can’t emphasise enough how valuable collaboration was to this process; we worked in true partnership style and we made a very ambitious plan possible.

“The procurement process for our £21.4m Cornell Quarter student accommodation project was extremely efficient and we are very pleased with the results.

“Our contractor Wates is now on-site and work is well underway. When completed, the Cornell Quarter will provide a fantastic new residential complex and will be a key addition to our ambitious campus master plan, which reinforces our commitment to providing the very best student and learning experience.”

JILL THOMPSON, DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF CAMPUS SERVICES, TEESSIDE UNIVERSITY

‘Overcoming challenges through partnerships’

As with all projects, we have had unexpected turns in the road. Changes to design are inevitable and logistical challenge always need to be overcome. As one of the largest schemes procured through Scape Venture, Cornell Quarter is no exception. But the speed of resolution for arising challenges has been a huge testament to the team behind the project. A four-week feasibility period was followed by an intense design development period before the scheme was submitted for planning, which was granted in December 2018. A further design process followed with enabling works starting on 1st April 2019. A successful start to which I no doubt will be an exciting and successful project.

What’s more, by adopting public sector procurement practices, the Scape Venture framework has brought a huge focus on social value to a privately funded project. Local impact is often celebrated as a huge benefit of public sector framework procurement; Scape has a robust strategy for creating training and employment opportunities through its projects as well as ensuring a local supply chain is appointed. The framework seeks to achieve the exact same thing through privately funded projects and this is the icing on the cake for Cornell Quarter. To have brought this project to site with such efficiency while uncompromising on our social value commitments make it a project of which we’re all very proud.

Helen Drennan is Regional Business Director for Wates Group in North East & Yorkshire.

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Topping out ceremony held for science park building

Wates Construction held a topping out ceremony to celebrate the latest milestone in the creation of a new HQ for leading software company The Access Group.

The new HQ is set to generate £1.6million a year for frontline Leicestershire County Council services and create at least 500 jobs.

The Access Group employs more than 2,000 people, serving over 20,000 UK companies. More than a third of its workforce is based in the Midlands.

The project is due to be open in Autumn 2020. Work is being delivered by Wates Construction via Major Works UK, part of the Scape National Construction framework.

“In addition to marking a significant build milestone, this event presented an opportunity to celebrate the truly collaborative approach all parties have taken in helping to bring this landmark project to fruition.”
JOHN CARLIN, REGIONAL MANAGER, WATES CONSTRUCTION

Read more about the Loughborough University Science Enterprise Park project here.

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Alistair McCallum: preserving public sector spend and creating certainty through frameworks

Alistair McCallum discusses the value of framework procurement in creating public sector certainty and safeguarding spend in an uncertain economic climate.

Much like the rest of the UK, the construction industry is weathering a significant period of economic uncertainty, derived from our impending exit from the European Union. The impact of that remains very much unknown and while this is the case, safeguarding public and private spend has never been more critical.

The world will keep turning and ‘business as usual’ will be maintained but making sensible and judicious investment decisions is vital. For public sector construction projects, this means reliable and efficient routes to market and procurement frameworks are an obvious solution. The model not only creates savings for the public purse but removes a large part of the tendering legwork, saving the sector time and resource.

Ensuring that public sector investment is safe is also high on the agenda. Stability in the construction industry is a hot topic and understandably so. Clients need, and deserve, complete confidence that their contracting partners are a trusted and safe pair of hands and, crucially, that they are here to stay. The continuity, longevity and stability providing by frameworks is the key to giving clients this assurance and in the current climate, this cannot be underestimated.

Frameworks also create substantial added value for local communities and economies – from the support lent to the local job market and engagement of a local supply chain to the creation of training opportunities for local people. Framework contractors are led by a specific intention to ensure that building work brings with it a sustainable positive impact.

At Wates we’re proud to be a partner on 80% of the UK’s leading local authority and central government frameworks, which is a mark of our strong capabilities in delivering on time and on budget while also delivering substantial social and economic value for local communities.

Our responsibility for the Major Works – UK framework, part of the Scape National Construction framework, sees us deliver major construction projects ranging from £10m to £50m for the public sector. In the 15 months since our appointment, we have been involved in a total of 31 projects totalling over £610m with their status either submitted as a feasibility review or converted into an active design or construction contract

These include the City Hub for Nottingham College, a landmark addition to the city’s skyline which will provide high quality college and community facilities together with a new business hub to encourage startups.

Along with a commitment to provide a range of sustainable training and employment opportunities, including 24 work placements, 16 jobs and 13 apprenticeships, we’re also working with the college’s construction department to demonstrate the wide variety of careers available in our diverse industry.

Of course, every construction project whether procured through projects or otherwise, should create social value and have a fair payment system. However, what the Major Works – UK brings is a higher level of accountability; everything is measured and held up for scrutiny against extremely high standards and that bar is continually raised.

For me though, the real reward from our place on Major Works – UK, is the ability for us to create an environment in which client and contractor become partners, sharing a set of mutual objectives and common values. Through early engagement and feasibility we can provide certainty around time and cost far more efficiently that with more traditional procurement routes and typically save our clients six months by getting projects to site faster. It is this collaboration, along with the honesty and trust it promotes, the makes framework procurement a successful and sure solution. Which is exactly what the public sector needs in the current economic climate.

Alistair McCallum is Regional Business Director for Wates Group in the Midlands.

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