Groundbreaking work starts

Birmingham City Council this week officially launched works on its new office building at Woodcock Street in Aston, which will deliver efficiency savings, improve services and create local jobs for local people.

The new office is a key element of the authority’s plans to deliver over £200million of gross savings by streamlining its office portfolio through the Working for the Future Business Transformation programme.

When complete, the new office building will be a base for over 2,000 staff, replacing more expensive leased buildings in the city centre. It will also set the standard for new ways of working for its employees with the aim of delivering first-class services to the citizens of Birmingham.

Planning permission was secured in February 2009 and since then the proposals have been closely examined to ensure that best value for money is being achieved. The project shows the council’s commitment to the regeneration agenda and will create and secure up to 3,000 jobs locally.

This building project will also see the Council delivering on its promise to reduce CO2 emissions. The building has been designed with the aim of achieving an “excellent” BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) rating.

This means the building will contain a number of innovative low carbon technologies including solar hot water heating, passive ventilation, rainwater harvesting and the use of ‘living’ brown roofs to create a habitat for urban wildlife.

Additionally, the building will be connected to the Aston University district combined heat and power (CHP) network giving further substantial reductions in CO2 emissions.

Thomas Vale were appointed as contractor for the works early in the design and planning stage through the Birmingham Construction Partnership, working closely with, Birmingham Property Services – identifying and adding considerable value for money benefits to the project. The building is due to be completed in August 2011.

Cllr Neville Summerfield, Birmingham City Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: “The plans for the new offices at Woodcock Street are now on the way to becoming reality.

“It is crucial that we ensure that taxpayer money is spent as effectively as possible, and the plans that have been drawn up as part of this Business Transformation project are supported by a compelling business case.

“When complete, the council will have an office block that is fit for the 21st century that will enable employees to work in a flexible way that is for the ultimate benefit of citizens through better service delivery.”

Tony Hyde, Managing Director of Thomas Vale Construction, added: “As a local company Thomas Vale are extremely proud to be undertaking this amazing transformation for Woodcock Street on behalf of Birmingham City Council and the Birmingham Construction Partnership.

“We will be working closely with all local stakeholders in order to realise the potential of what a project such as this can bring to the local regeneration of an area.”

Through their use of cutting edge IT facilities, provided by Service Birmingham, the plans will also form a key part of the strategy to develop a Digital District in and around the Eastside area of the city. The Digital District initiative was announced in June during the Digital Britain regional launch event in Birmingham.

The vision behind the Digital District is to create an area in which businesses and other hi-tech enterprises can flourish, driving forward the wider plans for inner-city regeneration, which itself is underpinned by the ambitious Big City Plan.

ENDS

Notes to editors

1. Pictures supporting this story are available at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/birminghamnewsroom/sets/72157622564821897/

 

2. Business Transformation is Birmingham City Council’s ambitious nine-strand programme, which aims to modernise and enhance services delivered across the whole authority to citizens. It is projected that the programme will realise benefits of around £1.5billion in the ten years to 2016.

 
3. Service Birmingham is a strategic partnership between Birmingham City Council and Capita which will support a transformation in the way the council works; improving services and contributing to its efficiency agenda. This strategic partnership forms part of the council’s objective to find better and more innovative ways of delivering services for the benefit of employees and citizens. The principle of this joint venture focuses on the provision of cost effective, sector leading, ICT services and in supporting the council in achieving its business transformation objectives.

 
4. Working for the Future, an essential part of the council’s wider Business Transformation programme, will consolidate the operational office portfolio and will be a catalyst for increasing workforce agility across the council contributing to the delivery of four key outcomes: better customer service, improved workplaces and work styles, greater sustainability and lower property operating costs. The Central Administrative Buildings (CAB) element of WFTF programme is set to realise £100million of net benefits. Working for the Future is the only one of the council’s nine Business Transformation programmes for which the full expenditure and benefits are quoted over 25 years. The remaining eight programmes are projected over the ten years to 2016.

 
5.   The Birmingham Construction Partnership (BCP) was launched in 2004 to deliver Birmingham City Council’s £500 million capital building programme. This unique, award winning partnership led by Birmingham City Council’s Urban Design, brings together local contractors G F Tomlinson Birmingham Limited, Thomas Vale Construction plc and Wates Group to deliver every council building project of over £100,000. The portfolio of BCP projects span across all social sectors including housing, leisure, culture and social care.  High profile successes so far include the Perry Tree Care centre and the first inclusive School in Birmingham – Colebourne and Beaufort.  This pioneering partnership has not only added a value of around £120 million through efficiency savings to date, but is helping Birmingham City Council to enhance the lives of people and communities through their built environment.

 
6.   Birmingham Property Services (BPS) is the largest In-House Local Authority Property Consultancy. BPS provides an integrated professional property service to the city council, with a responsibility to manage and dispose of city-owned commercial land and property, including shops, offices, industrial units, warehouses, business parks and development sites. The work of BPS is based around three key areas: asset management, acquisitions and valuations, and development projects.

For further information contact Kris Kowalewski on 0121 303 3621

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