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Relocation provides scope for the future

15 November 2016

Moving to a larger facility has both improved working conditions and provided scope for Cubic’s ongoing expansion.

When considering all the various elements that have to come together when moving to a new business premises, it is fair to say that most companies will view this task with a sense of foreboding.

There will, of course, be major benefits to look forward to when the dust has settled on the move, but the interim period inevitably requires a great deal of pre-planning, time, effort and – inevitably – expense to ensure that the move is completed with as little disruption to the business, staff and clients as possible.

As in all areas of FM, those considering a move to new premises need to choose their partners, service providers and contractors carefully.

Most companies have to move from their old premises into the new in a short time frame, with everything in place for business to carry on with as little disruption as possible, frequently over the course of a weekend.

Many of the points above can be related to by Cubic Transportation Systems, following its successful relocation to its new site in Meadowbrook in Crawley, West Sussex from its former premises in Surrey at the end of last year.

Motorway access

Viewing the facility as it stands today, it is difficult to envisage it in its former state. When the company decided to lease the 2,800 sq m premises, which offers good access to the M23 motorway and a good base for recruiting new staff, it was arranged as two separate warehouses and had fairly basic amenities.

Fast forward to the facility as it stands today and the site provides a modern premises, lit with energy-efficient LED lighting and incorporates a variety of warehousing, storage and well-ventilated offices and workshop areas.

It is managed by Keith Clark Meadowbrook site and production manager with input from Cubic group FM Dean Edwards, who also has responsibility for the company’s various facilities around the UK.

Managing revenue collection services for Transport for London (TfL), the company supplies a range of payment and information devices. Its Crawley facility is accordingly used for the manufacture of new technology, including automated ticket machines and Oyster card readers, with servicing and repair also carried out on site.

In order to make sure the move was completed before the end of 2015, with Christmas Eve the absolute deadline, Cubic contracted Pellings to project manage the building’s transformation.

Mr Edwards tells PFM that the move was successfully completed due to the professionalism of all the contractors and Cubic staff that worked on the project.

“We worked with Pellings and all the subcontractors very closely, holding weekly meetings so that everyone knew what they were doing and when,” says Mr Edwards.

“We also kept our own people up to speed with developments and shared pictures and information so they could see for themselves.

Considerable improvements

“Some of the guys were shocked when they saw exactly how much more space the new site provided,” he continues, emphasising the considerable improvements delivered by moving to the new premises.

“We looked at four or five sites, but this was the best size and location for us.”

Before Pellings was contracted in June last year, it had provided due diligence services prior to the acquisition, such as condition surveys, dilapidations and compliance checking, planning and property advice.

After it was contracted to project manage the move, it set about lining up the relevant subcontractors. Design and build services were provided by Project Partners, working to the outline designs provided by Pellings.

“Lighting was an important part of the preparations,” says Mr Clark. “We have around 1,000 lights on site and swapped the old sodium ones with LEDs.” In addition to improving the interior lighting quality, the new luminaires will also deliver energy savings but Mr Clark says it will not be possible to prove this conclusively as Cubic does not hold information on previous electricity usage.

“The lights were installed according to the lighting plan, showing where the spots should be placed for the warehouse aisles, for example. It’s now the responsibility of the security guards to turn the lights off at night and on again in the morning,” says Mr Clark.

All works were completed on time and within budget and the tasks involved also included a value engineering initiative.

Although these are frequently criticised by contractors as being purely aimed at reducing cost with no regard for the impact on the future running of the building, the Cubic value engineering focus was agreed between all parties before being implemented.

The transformation of the building, which was previously divided into two separate areas and required prefabricated offices to be removed, resulted in new air conditioning, IT and power cabling being installed once the structural alterations had been finished.

This allowed for the creation of Cubic’s only UK production facility, in addition to the setting up of the various departments and their numerous work stations for repairs and upgrades to a growing list of machines, devices and related equipment.

Warehouse fit out

Once the alterations had been completed, the pallet racking services of Link 51 were secured to fit out the warehouse in late October 2015 to prepare for the transfer of stock to the Crawley facility.

A CCTV system was also installed, due to the valuable technology and equipment on site, and detailed plans were then put in place for the transfer of staff. For the move itself, relocation specialist Harrow Green was contracted as the preferred choice.

“We’ve used them several times over the years and have found them to be very good,” says Mr Edwards. “They’re always very flexible and you know you can rely on them to do whatever’s necessary.

“In this instance, we had to move some of our old kit, which is fairly delicate and had to be carefully handled, but Harrow Green looked after everything and we had no problems.”

In order to reduce the impact on work schedules, Cubic staff worked extra hours to complete all pending repairs prior to the move.

The constant demand for its services meant that the relocation had to be completed on time, with staff again working extra hours to absorb the inevitable lost time that any move of this type will entail.

“We’re very pleased with the final result and we have plenty of space to expand further as the company secures more work,” says Mr Edwards.

“With the way things are going, this building will last us for another five or six years at least, possibly more depending on what’s needed and how technology changes.”

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