Solid progress made on council office block

By on 25/02/2010 in News

The sight of the steel frame being erected at Woodcock Street in Aston this week symbolises Birmingham City Council moving a step nearer to realising net efficiency savings of over £100m through its property portfolio, as well as delivering better services for citizens and improved sustainability.

Woodcock Street is one of the key building projects of the Working for the Future Business Transformation programme, which is revamping Council workspace across the city to ensure the Council realises £100million of savings through ending expensive leases and exiting buildings that are expensive to maintain and operate.

The erection of the steel frame at Woodcock Street is a key milestone for the project which is the council's largest ever new office building. The frame consists of steel weighing a total of 1,200 tonnes and in spite of recent poor weather conditions the project remains on target for completion in the autumn of 2011.

The building will be a base for around 2,700 employees and will set the standard for new ways of working supporting the council's directorates to deliver first-class services.

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

The new office building incorporates a range of sustainable features including solar hot water heating, an internal environmental design that will improve energy efficiency, night time free cooling, rainwater harvesting and “grey” water reuse, through to the use of a 'living' brown roof to create a habitat for urban wildlife whilst providing necessary insulation.

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

Cllr Neville Summerfield, Birmingham City Council's Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: “The steel frame shows that progress is continuing at a pace and our vision is a huge step nearer to becoming reality.

“When complete, the Council will have workspace 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. And what's more, we will be saving money for the taxpayer through ending expensive leases and operating a more efficient property portfolio.”

Tony Hyde, Managing Director of Thomas Vale Construction, added: “I'm delighted with progress and with the steel frame now going up it shows the project is well on track and programme. As a local company Thomas Vale is extremely proud to be delivering a project of this size and importance for Birmingham City Council and the Birmingham Construction Partnership.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

1. 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 £1billion over the ten years to 2016.

 
2. 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.

 
3. 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 over 25 years.

 
4. A gallery of pictures supporting this release can viewed at: www.flickr.com/photos/birminghamnewsroom/sets/72157623381516155/

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