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Woodcock Street work begins

Woodcock Street work begins

News that work is set to begin this week on Birmingham City Council's new office building at Woodcock Street in Aston is a huge boost to the jobs market and the environment – as well as saving taxpayers' money in the process.

The new office is a key element of the authority's plans to deliver over £200m of gross savings by streamlining its office portfolio through the Working for the Future Business Transformation programme.

When complete, the new office building will be a base for over 2,000 staff, replacing more expensive leased buildings in the city centre. It will also set the standard for new ways of working for its employees with the aim of delivering first-class services to the citizens of Birmingham.

Planning permission was secured in February 2009 and since then the proposals have been closely examined to ensure that best value for money is being achieved. The project shows the council's commitment to the regeneration agenda and will create and secure up to 3,000 jobs locally.

This building project will also see the Council delivering on its promise to reduce CO2 emissions. The building has been designed with the aim of achieving an "excellent" BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) rating.

This means the building will contain a number of innovative low carbon technologies including solar hot water heating, passive ventilation, rainwater harvesting and the use of 'living' brown roofs to create a habitat for urban wildlife.

Additionally, the building will be connected to the Aston University district combined heat and power (CHP) network giving further substantial reductions in CO2 emissions.

Thomas Vale were appointed as contractor for the works early in the design and planning stage through the Birmingham Construction Partnership, working closely with, Birmingham Property Services – identifying and adding considerable value for money benefits to the project. The building is due to be completed in August 2011.

Cllr Neville Summerfield, Birmingham City Council's Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: "The plans for the new offices at Woodcock Street are now on the way to becoming reality.

"It is crucial that we ensure that taxpayer money is spent as effectively as possible, and the plans that have been drawn up as part of this Business Transformation project are supported by a compelling business case.

"When complete, the council will have an office block that is fit for the 21st century that will enable employees to work in a flexible way that is for the ultimate benefit of citizens through better service delivery."

Tony Hyde, Managing Director of Thomas Vale Construction, added: "As a local company Thomas Vale are extremely proud to be undertaking this amazing transformation for Woodcock Street on behalf of Birmingham City Council and the Birmingham Construction Partnership.

"We will be working closely with all local stakeholders in order to realise the potential of what a project such as this can bring to the local regeneration of an area."

Through their use of cutting edge IT facilities, provided by Service Birmingham, the plans will also form a key part of the strategy to develop a Digital District in and around the Eastside area of the city. The Digital District initiative was announced in June during the Digital Britain regional launch event in Birmingham.

The vision behind the Digital District is to create an area in which businesses and other hi-tech enterprises can flourish, driving forward the wider plans for inner-city regeneration, which itself is underpinned by the ambitious Big City Plan.

  • Category: Education
  • Reference number: 359-KK
  • Issue date: 27 August 2009