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Procure Partnerships Framework supports Cheshire Fire Authority’s fire station upgrade programme

Wates has been awarded the £8.5m, design and build contract to refurbish 19 fire stations across Cheshire. Delivered through the Procure Partnerships Framework, the programme will commence in February 2020 and will modernise facilities for Cheshire Fire Authority over a 5-year period.

In order to reduce disruption to the fire service and to ensure continuity of service, the programme will be split into phases:

Year 1: Runcorn, Middlewich, Birchwood and SandbachYear 2: Widnes, Holmes Chapel, Northwich and AudlemYear 3: Malpas, Congleton, Ellesmere Port and KnutsfordYear 4: Winsford, Frodsham , Poynton and Macclesfield Year 5: Nantwich, Wilmslow and Stockton Heath

The existing fire stations have been reviewed as part of the estates condition survey to develop a programme of refurbishment works which will allow Cheshire Fire Authority to deliver their services and meet the needs of the community. Wates are currently working closely with Cheshire Fire Authority to develop a design and cost plan which meets their overall objectives. The design team includes Lawray Architects, who have designed several fire stations in the North West, and Yorkshire Building Services (YBS) who will deliver the M&E requirements. Ensuring the final building designs are energy efficient and sustainable is an important part of providing a long-term, cost-effective solution for Cheshire Fire Authority.

The refurbished stations will be designed to mirror the recent new build station in Penketh, Warrington, which was completed in 2016. Using the Penketh Station as a benchmark for quality and branding, Cheshire Fire Authority intend to provide a consistent standard across their estate to successfully deliver their overall vision and objectives. Once completed, the improved stations will serve as important community hubs and will provide flexible spaces which can also be used by staff and community groups.

Wates are working closely with Cheshire Fire Authority to support them in their vision of “no deaths, injuries or damage from fires or other emergencies”. An important part of the pre-construction phase is to identify opportunities to create socio-economic benefits for local people. The team will develop a five-year community impact plan which will ensure a lasting positive legacy after the construction works are complete. Opportunities will include sourcing local labour and engaging with local SMEs; promoting employment, training and apprenticeships; providing educational activities such as open days and school visits; and supporting environmental projects such as Community Conservation Week or tree planting.

The construction works will be undertaken whilst the stations remain operational. This will bring many logistical challenges and the priority of Wates will be to ensure that the existing stations can continue to safely respond to important emergency calls as required. This will be managed via various risk mitigation strategies and careful programme management to reduce impact on services.

Nigel Williams, Construction Manager at Wates Smartspace commented on the project; “We have been working closely with the client team to assess and develop the design to suit the cost plan, and to accommodate Cheshire Fire’s requirements, turning their fire stations into quality establishments that realise their vision and enhance communities”.

The local communities and other stakeholders will be able to learn more about the projects and keep updated of the construction progress through regular newsletters, blog posts and via social media, helping to ensure positive engagement with the communities that the stations serve.

Helen Bunch, Managing Director at Wates Smartspace commented on the project: “We are delighted to be collaborating with Cheshire Fire and Rescue on Wates’ first project to be delivered through the Procure Partnerships Framework. After some productive engagement with the client and supply chain, the programme is on track to start by February 2020, and we are positive that the modernisation will bring some exciting developments to Cheshire county”.

Robbie Blackhurst, Procure Partnerships Director, commented on the project; “The programme of modernisation is incredibly important to Cheshire Fire Authority and the communities the stations serve. By developing the programme of works in this way, it is anticipated that we can implement efficiencies and continuous learning across the projects to benefit the overall budget and design, and to ensure a high-value solution is developed for the people of Cheshire.”