As the old adage goes: “many hands make light work”.
And never does this ring more true than on a major building project.
In the world of construction, working in unison means solutions to potential problems are found faster giving a better result.
It also means that there is greater input into the design and build processes.
And on top of that, it’s incredibly rewarding to work as part of a team for a common goal.
When collaboration works well
Recently Dayle Bayliss Associates has been involved in a project to create a café and training space in Stowmarket.
@TheRec is the perfect example of community spirit, sustainability and collaboration.
With a minuscule budget several agencies, organisation and businesses came together to create a dream facility in two upcycled shipping containers.
It began in 2014 when Menta, the not for profit Suffolk Enterprise Agency, were approached by Stowmarket Town Council with the idea of creating a community café within the recreational ground.
The recreational ground was already a vibrant space well used by the community and with good links to the local school and the skate park.
But with Menta’s enterprise and skills background, the project presented the opportunity to act as a catalyst to engage the community in the local skills agenda.
And gradually a vision emerged of a café which could act as a focal point – a relaxed environment to raise the aspirations of those using the recreational ground. There was just one problem – there was only a budget of £40k available to deliver the scheme.
How did it work?
Any project of this size needs someone to oversee it.
After all, with agencies working together there is a lot of communication needed – something that a building surveyor like myself can manage.
I provide a central point of reference to ensure everyone on site is working from the same page.
This scheme had the added complication of funding however.
And the vision simply would not have become reality without donations, pro bono work and the support of several different agencies.
Our company worked as Building Surveyors and Designers free of charge.
But mentoring is something we are keen to promote and we knew that this was a major exercise in collaborative working – which meant it would be done efficiently, smoothly and quickly from the get go.
Working together for success
Dayle Bayliss Associates and Menta partnered to develop the scheme.
The two teams worked together to convert two 40ft shipping containers donated by Felixstowe Port to form the foundation of the building.
The upcycled containers had travelled the world – one had belonged to the Korean Chemical Company – and were bright red which, it was felt, helped lift the landscape and draw attention to the facility in the heart of the recreation ground.
Both had to be insulated to comply with current building regulations standards and Dayle Bayliss Associates helped the project achieve planning and Building Regulation consent and were on hand throughout the build. This work was supported by a member of the Menta team, who worked with the users of the recreational ground to understand the service offering, and engage them throughout the planning and construction process.
On top of this Stowmarket Town Council gave their labour and construction skills, meaning that the project was delivered within the £40k budget.
Planning was achieved in early 2014 and in June 2014 The Rec opened its doors to the public.
The café is now run by Community Interest Company, Realise Futures, so that any profits made are reinvested back into the local community.
Job Centre Plus are working in partnership with the project to offer job clubs within the training space and the partnerships continue to develop.
Locally based PPG employees have extended the seating area and have provided display screens for the training events.
Menta manage the whole space and have a dedicated Youth Project Manager to ensure that consultation and engagement is ongoing, and that the space is always the communities.
The prospects for the building look very good indeed. The income generated from the café support the day to day running and with courses being provided by the public and private sector there continues to be a hive of activity around the building.
In a nutshell
What The Rec shows is that when you work together, incredible things can be achieved.
The collaboration between Public, Private and VCS sectors on this project delivered real results.