Morgan Sindall Construction has completed a £4.8 million programme of upgrades and renovations to Swansgate Car Park, Wellingborough. The main contractor delivered the project for the Borough Council of Wellingborough through SCAPE, the UK procurement authority.
It has been completed in 10 months, with the multi-storey car park kept fully operational for use by the public during this time, despite the logistical challenges of working during COVID-19. The project was accelerated through SCAPE Construction, a direct award framework that allows for more considered project planning through early contractor engagement.
Social distancing requirements mandated by the pandemic meant the site team could not employ the standard method of splitting and repairing the car park’s concrete floor; a task which traditionally requires multiple site personnel operating in close proximity.
To work around this, the site team designed and employed an approach using high-pressure water jets which could be individually operated to split the concrete. This allowed the task to be completed safely and efficiently, in line with Construction Leadership Council (CLC) guidelines, ensuring the project remained on track for the handover at the end of January. The main contractor devised the solution with its specialist supply chain member, Cemplas Limited.
In addition to the structural repairs, which will extend the car park’s lifespan, Morgan Sindall Construction also delivered a raft of changes to improve customer experience, making the free public amenity safer and more family-friendly. The lighting has been overhauled and CCTV added, while the toilets, and street-level door security have all been upgraded. A new sprinkler system has also been added alongside the building’s fire alarms.
Another key element to the project was adding extra parking capacity, and electric vehicle (EV) charging capabilities to four of the bays. The roof, which previously was not accessible to vehicles, has been opened up and included in the refurbishment, increasing the total number of available spaces by more than 200.
Rob Cant, SCAPE Regional Construction framework director, at Morgan Sindall Construction, said: “Delivering a programme of renovation and improvements to a live public car park is a logistical challenge in a normal year.
“But the additional considerations necessitated by COVID-19 would almost certainly have delayed repair work on the 3,500 individual locations around the concrete floor and frame without genuine innovation from the site team.
“It was made possible by investing the time in collaborative planning and problem solving with skilled supply chain members during the earliest stages of the project; something facilitated by the framework procurement route.
“The car park’s additional capacity, safety improvements, and EV charging capability will be important as the council looks to support the sustainable recovery of the town centre in the months ahead. We’re very pleased to hand the project over.”
Mark Robinson, group chief executive at SCAPE, said: “To have completed work on this essential community asset, which will encourage the recovery of local businesses, is testament to the skill and commitment of Morgan Sindall Construction, alongside the vision of the Council, in this most challenging of years.
“The completion of Swansgate Car Park demonstrates the value of direct award frameworks when it comes to procuring projects at speed, which will be critical for those councils looking to regenerate communities as part of the national economic recovery.”
Councillor Martin Griffiths, Leader of the Council, said: “I’m proud that we are continuing to invest in our town centre to ensure that Wellingborough is an attractive place for residents and visitors to spend time with family and friends shopping and socialising, when COVID-19 restrictions allow.
“I am sure that the refurbishment of the Swansgate multi-storey car park will be popular both with visitors and businesses, providing the community with a better experience all round. A much cleaner, safer and more attractive place to park, now and in the future.
“I would also like to put on record my admiration for the way this project has been managed from start to finish by the contactors Morgan Sindall Construction and officers of the council during what has been a very difficult time for each and every one of us.”