Project

Mildenhall Hub

Brief

We were appointed to produce a master plan for creating a single site hub for the town’s public services.

Spread across the town in Mildenhall, many of the diverse public sector buildings were reaching the end of their design lives. The hub would be home to the relocated Mildenhall Academy, Leisure Centre, Children’s Centre, Pre-school, Public Library, Advice Centre and offices for councils, the NHS, central government and the voluntary sector. Providing the town and surrounding area with integrated access to community services.

Key Info

Location:
Mildenhall, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

Project Type:
New Build

Client:
West Suffolk Council

End User:
Abbeycroft Leisure, Academies Enterprise Trust, Academy Transformation Trust, Adult Social Services, Citizens Advice, Clinical Commissions Group, Department Working Pensions, Public Heath England, Suffolk County Council (SCC), Suffolk Libraries, Suffolk Police, West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Trust

Project Completion:
May 2021

Project Value:
£39 million

Contract Type:
Design and Build

Disciplines:
Architecture, Interior Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Mechanical + Electrical Engineering, Quantity Surveying + Cost Consultancy, Structural + Civil Engineering

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Scope

This project required a multi-disciplinary approach across our in house professional teams.

Originating with the master planning, the project required involvement from our Architecture, Landscaping, Interior Architecture, Quantity Surveying, Structural + Civil Engineering, and Building Services Teams.

In order to first explore the possibility of creating the hub, we developed a robust business case to allow partners and stakeholders to conduct due diligence on the proposed community facility. We engaged and consulted with a large number of stakeholders, consolidating all their ideas and requirements. We also carried out land surveys and architectural design proposals. Each option was fully costed to include the build, capital receipts and any land purchase. We produced all background and supporting information, and gave a 25 year lifecycle cost.

We produced detailed designs for the build, including massing and site analysis drawings, layout plans and plans for the use of the buildings and surrounding spaces. This resulted in a smooth process for gaining approvals throughout planning and building control stages. Our designs were also used to secure funding to progress the project. The facilities included within the design are a high school, leisure centre, job centre, medical centre, police, local authority, library, café, pre-school, children’s centre and office spaces.

Our team of architects took many factors into consideration when designing the community facility. For instance, there were multiple stakeholders and end users involved on this project, which presents a more complex task of ensuring all their needs are met. However, through frequent client engagement sessions, the team were able to develop and understand their briefs, gaining a thorough understanding of how best to suit their needs.

This was essential to ensuring a cohesive layout was maintained throughout the building, connecting the facilities logically and allowing staff and users to navigate easily. The design has also provided optimal space for future advances in service delivery and population needs, as well as ensuring the building worked well within its environment. This involved designing in accordance with scale, mass, flow and architectural rhythm.

Our landscape architects ensured the external design was consistent with the ethos of the hub and internal design, as well as providing a cohesive site which connects to the existing town and public routes. They have provided green corridors and landscape features across the site to replace any landscape and ecology lost to the development, whilst enhancing the existing landscape. In order to manage surface water in a sustainable manner, a site wide Sustainable Drainage System (SuDS) was incorporated. They also ensured the site included provision of vehicular access and parking, while promoting sustainable methods of transport through cycle routes, electric car charging points and public transport connections.

Alongside the design of the building, we were appointed under a separate project to undertake a Category B fit-out to the library, café, Council Chamber and office areas. This included specification and installation of the furniture and fixtures as well as selection of final finishes, wayfinding signage and branding. The branding was an additional requirement, created by our graphic designer alongside the interior team, which the client were delighted with.

Mildenhall Hub reflects the Client’s aspiration for a multi-user facility with sustainability and efficient operation at the forefront of the design, focusing on reducing carbon emissions. The design has followed the strategy of ‘Be Lean’, ‘Be Clean’, and ‘Be Green’ principles to significantly reduce carbon emissions when compared to the target emissions rate. A combination of renewable technologies such as PhotoVoltaic (PV) panels, Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHP), Combined Heat and Powe (CHP) and battery storage have been integrated into the design. Surplus electricity produced from the CHP and PV panels is fed into the battery storage system and used by the building when required. The purpose-built battery is formed from 24 recycled electric vehicle batteries and is the size of a shipping container. Having a centralised plant room serving all the facilities under one roof allows for the integration of services, resulting in an economical and energy efficient solution.

The Hub’s main construction was well underway when the Covid-19 pandemic began. The library and café had been designed as “The Core” of the building joining into other key facilities such as the academy, police offices, council offices, and NHS treatment and consultation rooms. Our design team met with the client, stakeholders and main contractor to plan and develop new design options for the project in-line with covid guidance. Our proactive approach ensured we could facilitate the late design changes, and maintain best value for the client. We adopted a phased approach in line with the government’s lifting of restrictions, which ensured the facilities with delayed opening dates were postponed in favour of focusing on completing the facilities which were required first.  Our experience and efficient response meant very few changes were required. This meant the client’s expectations could still be met, and the impact to ongoing construction was minimised ensuring adherence to the programme and delivery dates.

Testimonial

“The Mildenhall Hub is the model for how many towns and cities will provide their school, leisure and other public services in the future and I feel it is something that we will look back at in years to come and feel proud of.”

James Waters, Councilor and Leader of Forest Heath District Council

Result

The client and end users are extremely pleased with the finished project, which is an example of what can be achieved by working collaboratively with multiple stakeholders.

 

The completed hub is a national exemplar, and the first of its kind in the UK to have as many community services brought together under one roof to achieve its aim in reducing overheads and creating better cost and environmental efficiencies. The design of this building, both internally and externally, meets the client’s brief and requirements, as well as providing a practical and aesthetically pleasing community hub.

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Project

Skyliner Sports

Centre

Brief

The project comprised the construction of the new Skyliner Sports Centre adjacent to the Sybil Andrews Academy.

The new building provides sports facilities for both the Academy and for use by the general public. The scheme also included the provision of new external MUGA pitch facilities.

The accommodation provided includes a new sports hall, dance studios, gym, changing areas, equipment storage facilities, reception areas and plant space. The building incorporates a Biomass facility serving both the Sports Centre and the adjacent School.

Key Info

Type:
New Build

Value:
£6.5 million

Location:
Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

Client:
Suffolk County Council

End User:
Abbeycroft Leisure, Sybil Andrews Academy

Contractor:
Barnes Construction

Completion:
December 2016

Disciplines:
Architecture, Building Services Design, Estates + Development Management, Interior Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Project Management, Quantity Surveying + Cost Consultancy

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Scope

The building was constructed using a two storey steel framed structure with an insulated structural roof deck finished with a single ply roofing membrane.

The external envelope of the building was formed using a Metsec lightweight steel structural framing system set between the steel frame and clad externally with a decorative Rockpanel rainscreen cladding system. Internally, a specialist non-slip vinyl type floor was installed within the Sports Hall with timber sprung floors being provided in the Dance Studio and Gym areas.

Externally, hard pavings and a MUGA pitch with floodlighting formed part of the project in addition to drainage and new mains services.

Testimonial

“It’s been great to watch the development of a new first class sports facility here to support the new growing community at Moreton Hall alongside the recently opened Sybil Andrews Academy building. Pupils will really benefit from access to the full range of sports equipment and facilities as well as local people who can sign up for membership.”

Cllr Gordon Jones, Suffolk County Council Cabinet Member (Children’s Services, Education and Skills)

Result

The sports centre will be managed by Abbeycroft Leisure, who also manage 18 other leisure facilities across Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.

Located on the site of the Sybil Andrews Academy, on Rougham Tower Avenue in Bury St Edmunds, the centre is a partnership project with a 45 station, state of the art gym, two fitness studios, a four badminton court sports hall and an outdoor 3G all weather pitch. From the start of the project the aim has always been to have a school which has wider links with the community through shared use of leisure facilities.

The sports centre will be open to the public every day, with some shared daytime use of the sports hall by the Academy. There will be an extensive group exercise class programme every day including the popular Les Mills classes and various children’s activities during term time plus a ‘Schools Out’ programme.

Designed by Concertus and built by Barnes Construction, the project to develop the Academy and the adjoining sports facility has been a joint venture between West Suffolk Council, Suffolk County Council, Abbeycroft Leisure and Samuel Ward Trust.

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Project

Woolpit Health Centre

Brief

We were required to carry out quantity surveying and contract administration services.

The client did not have the internal capacity to carry out quantity surveying and contract administration services to RIBA stage 5. We were selected to undertake these areas of work to alleviate pressure on the client.

Key Info

Type:
Refurbishment, Remodelling, Extension

Value:
£450k

Location:
Woolpit, Suffolk

Contractor:
Seamans

Client:
Woolpit Health Centre

End User:
Woolpit Health Centre

Duration:
9 months

Disciplines:
Quantity Surveying + Cost Consultancy

Scope

It was necessary for this project to include a ventilation and air conditioning strategy.

We provided support to the health centre by assisting the design team to create a CQC compliant building. An early discussion with the contractor, lead designer and client enabled us to realise quickly there were issues with some of the specialist design elements. Being part of a multi-disciplinary unit, we were able to provide the resource required to resolve the problems and complete the design quickly and cost-effectively. We were able to prove this by market testing the quotations we provided for the additional design elements.

Due to the project being at a live doctors’ surgery, the health provision needed to be maintained throughout. This made access difficult. We overcame this by adding a preliminary phase to resolve the access route issues and liaising closely with the contractor and client to replan the works. The original programme dates were still maintained. Furthermore, we assisted in rearranging the health centre’s activities to maximise the use of available space. The works were coordinated with planned holidays to minimise disruption and ensure continuity.

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Result

Our team helped the client gain additional funding and cost savings.

By maintaining a positive working relationship during this challenging project and through negotiations with the contractor and design team, including an analysis of the key areas of design, we have provided significant benefits. These include saving approximately 10% of the build costs in the reduced extension of time claims, avoiding abortive works and reductions in variations. We delivered more than our original role asked of us to achieve both value and quality.

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Project

The Mix Stowmarket

Brief

We were asked by our client to design the building and external environment for a multi-purpose facility for 13-19 year olds.

The aim of the project was to enhance the Children & Young People’s Services for Suffolk County Council by creating an environment that provided diverse, flexible, and social spaces to support educational outputs.

Key Info

Location:
Stowmarket, Suffolk

Client:
Suffolk County Council – Children and
Young People’s Services (CYP)

End User:
Youth of Stowmarket and surrounding areas

Project Value:
£5 million

Project Completion:
December 2013

Contractor:
Barnes Construction

Disciplines:
Architecture, Building Services Design, Interior Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Project and Programme Management

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Scope

Concertus oversaw an evolving multi-disciplinary team, heavily focused on collaboration and the needs of young people.

The Council wanted the new design to preserve and enhance the character of the area, whilst creating an innovative space. Therefore, the overriding design philosophy was that the building conveyed an “Alice in Wonderland” feeling, where the front facade is in direct contrast to the interior design.

The first floor accommodation benefits from a direct connection with a line of trees on the southern boundary. This not only ties the building to the external environment but also allows the tree canopy to screen the building from neighbouring properties.

By utilising the fall across the site and forming the three-storey elements, the proportion of developed site is less than 60%. This enables the formation of an undercroft, together with the courtyard gardens, providing vital space for young people to gather in a safe and enjoyable environment.

Testimonial

“Through our design an outdoor area has been created that has provided vital space for young people to gather in a controlled environment.”

Annett Thompson, Senior Project Manager, Concertus

Result

There is now a fit for purpose and modern facility to provide community and youth services in the area.

As a result of collaborative and innovative work between Concertus and the stakeholders involved with this project, The Mix was successfully completed and exceeded the client’s brief. The building provides world class, multi-purpose youth facilities for young people and the community; featuring a performance hall, sound and art studios, advice centre, housing unit, garden, and a café. This has meant that there is now a fit for purpose and modern facility to provide community and youth services in the area, fulfilling the council’s aim to enhance the services they provide for the children and young people in Stowmarket.

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public sector. Contact us to start your project.

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