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Importance of interior design emphasised by new global operations centre

07 August 2017

Cubic Transportation Systems has announced the opening of its Global Operations Centre (GOC), located in Stockton-on-Tees.

It was created through the conversion of part of an office building at Clearwater Park by design, property and construction consultancy Pellings and interiors contractor Skansen.

The GOC has the capacity to accommodate 100+ technical support and service desk personnel.

The centre provides a worldwide hub for the cost-effective execution of customer service needs 24/7 ranging from public transport operations to traffic management for roads and highways.

Ian Flockhart, a partner at Pellings, explains that Stockton was chosen by Cubic because of the proximity to an existing skill base as well as to some of the UK’s premiere universities.

“While Pellings has a breadth of skills including commercial design, multi-disciplinary FM and contract administration, it was the project management role that was the most critical for this task.

“The building was converted from a bland, open plan office into a modern, cutting edge environment.”

He adds that after completing the initial survey on the building, it became clear that ‘time and cost’ was the challenge. The project was fast-tracked and took eight weeks from inception to completion.

An important factor in its success was selecting the right partner. Pellings drew up a shortlist of three project partners and from this selected Skansen Ltd as the interior contractor and designer for the project.

Mr Flockhart remarks that Skansen gave greater design input than a normal building contractor would normally provide:

“The conversion included stripping out existing fixtures and fittings, as well as putting in new acoustic glazing and ceilings to cut down on noise reverberation where many employees are working in what is essentially a call centre environment.

"In addition, new partitioning, electrical circuits, IT, soft furnishings, large monitoring screens and LED up-lighting and down-lighting were installed.

“The furniture included the latest electronically adjustable desk technology for different height employees and to accommodate those wishing to stand as well as sit,” he adds.

The quality of the working environment was paramount. Adam Salazar of Skansen, says: “A special feature of Cubic’s new operations centre is the installation of personalised artwork to highlight the culture and history of the company as a world leader in transport technology.

"This includes wrapping the full-height storage in a vinyl wrapper with a bespoke ‘stuff and nonsense’ design, such as the pairing of the A34 road to the West Country with Route 66 in America, together with a stylised graphic of a road and rail map.”

Also, in the entrance reception a Cubic company timeline has been created with a series of black and white picture images charting the history of the company, with the final image declaring “the best is yet to come”.

Interest was also created by using a variety of different colour schemes and coloured fabrics for the interior decorations and furniture.

One of the challenges was project managing the fit-out from London and because of the fast-track delivery required, Skansen had to use sub-contractors from the South East who they knew and trusted to deliver the projects on time and on budget.

Further, as part of the building was already occupied by Cubic, Skansen had to ensure strict security to ensure that no unauthorised personnel could gain access to those parts of the building it wasn’t fitting out.

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