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Power Moves

15 March 2005

In January, the last of the 1,575 civil servants from the Inland Revenue and Customs & Excise, moved into Whitehall, marking the end of the construction phase of the pioneering PFI project to finance, renovate and improve Government office accommodation. Jane Fenwick reports

INLAND REVENUE and HM Customs & Excise now share a joint headquarters in 1 Parliament Street, and are next door to the HM Treasury located in the western end of the same building at 1 Horse Guards Road. It is the first time that the Government’s finance ministries have been brought together under one roof, offering opportunities for closer working relationships between the departments and sharing of facilities. Formerly known as GOGGS (Government Offices Great George Street), this high profile PFI has seen the refurbishment of this landmark, heritage building opposite Big Ben into flexible open plan working space with modern ICT systems under a 35-year PFI deal with Exchequer Partnership. The project was delivered two months ahead of time and on budget.

Exchequer Partnership (EP) brought together Stanhope plc and Bovis Lend Lease, architects, Foster and Partners, and FM partner, Workplace Management. Following the award of contract in 1999, EP acquired the leasehold for the whole of the site and refurbished the building in two phases, the first being completed in 2002 for the Treasury. Both parts of the 100-year old building needed to be modernised to accommodate more modern, open plan working methods. It had originally been designed for more traditional, hierarchical working with mainly cellular offices and a maze of corridors.

The refurbishment of 1 Parliament Street cost £148m. HM Customs & Excise and Inland Revenue will pay EP an annual unitary payment at March 2002 prices of £17.1m.

The Customs & Excise and Inland Revenue offices provide open plan working and team space, and a range of shared facilities. The grade II* listed building underwent a major refurbishment that had to be sensitive to its heritage as well as to the Government’s Greening Government Initiative for energy efficient offices.

Inner courtyards
The building had previously suffered unsympathetic and piecemeal service additions, and required significant modernisation. In particular, the light wells had been outside spaces unused by the occupants but frequented by pigeons. Now these have been transformed into inner courtyards, one an open garden area and others covered and used as a café and a library. Fresh air is drawn into the building through windows in the office perimeter, and expelled via the light wells. The covered light wells have translucent roofs and act as thermal chimneys discharging warm air through integral louvred vents at roof level. These are linked to weather stations on the roof to respond to changes in the temperature. Those rooms that overlook the busy, noisy junction at Parliament Square and Parliament Street have conditioned air delivered through grills in the plenum.

Over 8.5 miles of walls and partitions were removed and an additional floor giving 2,764sq m more usable space was created above the third floor around the circular central ‘drum’ courtyard that links the two parts of the building.

Over 11,000 modern fluorescent lights were installed providing both up and down lighting, controlled automatically to reduce energy and maximise daylight usage. The old unsightly and light limiting bomb blast curtains on the external windows have been replaced by multi-panel plain glass designed to be blast resistant and at the same time to reduce glare and heat gain within the refurbished 1,400 original wooden frames. This has increased natural light to the workspace, improved natural ventilation, helped control solar gain and reduced running costs. Light paint colours have transformed the building interior that had previously been a heritage green.

Part of EP’s risk sharing includes consumption of electricity, heating energy and water. This encourages it to operate the building in an environmentally-friendly manner. A model tied to average annual temperatures, the hours of operation of the building and the numbers of occupants, has been developed to allow a prediction to be made for utility consumption. The actual consumption is compared to this prediction and EP will share the benefits/losses of any variation.

By refurbishing the building in two phases the EP construction and FM teams gained some valuable learning opportunities.

The FM teams have been operating 1 Horse Guards Road for the Treasury since the summer of 2002. With the occupation of I Parliament Street, certain common facilities are shared where this is cost effective, although there are different FM contracts with EP for each building. All 110 FM staff are badged as ‘Exchequer Partnership’. FM services provision is split between Workplace Management, providing the central help desk function and soft services through Charlton House (catering), Group 4 (manned security) and OCS (cleaning), and Lend Lease Facilities & Estates Management, providing hard services, including engineering services (Emcor), building fabric, post, goods inward and reprographics services (Pitney Bowes Management Services).

Each part of the building has its own SLAs and KPIs. Learning how to implement these and to make change within the constraints of the PFI contract was a lesson learned earlier in 1 Horse Guards Road. Workplace Management contract manager, Kieren Healey, said, “We had to learn that the PFI was not like a normal FM contract where the FM simply responds to the client’s needs. We have to make sure that changes are well documented, especially if they have any impact on the KPIs.”

The FM teams were involved in design decisions for both phases of the building renovation. The input ranged from the choice of flooring to light fittings and was based on their experience of performance of materials and equipment used in 1 Horse Guards Road. The design teams also made creative use of space in 1 Parliament Street, providing many informal break out areas. They also improved acoustics in the meeting rooms in 1 Parliament Street.

The building is operated as a single entity for FM services delivery and the occupants are already using the shared facilities, such as the restaurant and meeting space, extensively. A single client contract management team is colocated with the two FM providers within the building, demonstrating a close relationship that has another 33 years to run.

Renovation statistics
• 88% building waste recycled
• 92% of original timber reused in windows, 70% in floors and 100% in existing doors
• 11,000 fluorescent light fittings installed
• 1,400 windows refurbished
• 8.5 miles of wall removed
• 800 miles of IT data cable installed
• 514 rooms refurbished
• 550 radiators refurbished

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