National office fit out and refurbishment specialist Overbury has been appointed to undertake a multi-million pound refurbishment of a new business services hub for Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, the Northamptonshire Police and the Office of the Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.
The project, which will see the county’s fire and police business service departments including IT, Finance, Estates and Facilities and HR, come together for the first time to work across both organisations, is being accelerated and performance managed through Scape, the UK’s leading public sector procurement authority.
The 24-week programme of works at the former 76,500 sq ft office building in the Park Farm Industrial Estate, in Wellingborough, will deliver a comprehensive refit of the two-storey building to accommodate the 500 staff from across the three organisations.
“With the three services joining their business services functions for the first time, the emphasis was on how we could create an inclusive and collaborative working environment that also had a strong focus on sustainability,” said Michele Clifton, account manager at Overbury, which is leading the scheme.
“Our design not only delivers a functional space that engenders a sense of community and wellbeing, it will also enable efficiencies, improve communication across the departments and provide sufficient flexibility for future business needs.”
Staff wellbeing is an essential component, said Michele, with the inclusion of biophilia, break-out zones, acoustic baffles and screens to minimise sound reverberation, and LED lighting.
Sustainability is another key aspect of the design, with the repurposing of tens of thousands of square feet of barely-worn carpet tiles that have been taken up and reused across the police force and fire estates, while the existing furniture, which was sold with the unit, has also been redistributed, where possible.
The ground floor will feature a large, open reception, a wellbeing/multi-faith room, mini-gym, showers, lockers, hot-desking areas, conference room, as well as a refreshment point that will feature an old policeman’s bicycle – sourced from Northamptonshire Police’s heritage museum – suspended from the ceiling.
The first floor, which has the benefit of an atrium that is flooded with natural light, will also provide further banks of desks, seating areas, private office space, a flexible “command suite” and areas for relaxing, informal meetings and dining.
Mark Robinson, Scape group chief executive, said: “Investing in the public estate in a way that enhances service delivery, whilst benefiting the local economy, is absolutely crucial.
“Overbury’s work is a fantastic example of how a well-considered project can make every penny of public investment count. Not only does this innovatively designed business services hub enable these teams to work collaboratively for the first time and explore real efficiency gains, it is a high quality and sustainable facility that will benefit both those working in it and the wider community for years to come.”
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Stephen Mold, said: “Overbury’s design for this landmark, shared building will help us to achieve our vision of enabling Northamptonshire Police and Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service to work more closely together to deliver strong, joined up support to the frontline of both organisations.
“It is critical to me that the building is efficient to run and maintain so that we are able to dispose of the older buildings in our estate and ensure that we don’t spend more than we have to on them.”
Chief Superintendent Ash Tuckley, who is leading the Darby Close project, said: “We were really impressed with Overbury’s initial designs and they understand that we want to create the best quality environment where people can thrive.
“These drawings are exciting and show we are aiming for a vibrant, collaborative working environment which supports well-being and productivity – that’s our top priority.
“The building will be as sustainable as it can be, because we want to manage long term running costs as well as the environmental impact.”
The refurbishment is expected to be completed in Q1 2021.