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First of three fire stations open as Morgan Sindall Construction progresses with next step of investment for blue light facilities

This week saw the opening ceremony of the new Bishop’s Waltham Fire Station, the first on-call fire station (retained) to be built for Hampshire in over 40 years. The development is the first of three state-of-the-art blue light facilities in Hampshire to be delivered by Morgan Sindall Construction for Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service (HIWFRS) to help restore and improve fire and rescue facilities in the region.

The investment, worth a combined construction value of £22.5m, will support the service’s long-term vision for modern, fit-for-purpose blue light facilities across the region and enable front-line firefighters and volunteers to continue to make life safer for the local community.

Morgan Sindall, was selected by HIWFRS through the Southern Construction Framework (SCF) to deliver the projects which includes Bishop’s Waltham Community Fire Station, Cosham Fire Station in Portsmouth and the Live Fire Training Facility at their headquarters in Eastleigh.

Work began 12 months ago at Bishops Waltham to demolish the existing station and create a brand-new facility which will provide more dynamic training and resilience to flooding which is key to the area.

The biggest challenge was to create a larger facility on the existing constrained site. A 250 sqm two storey building with a range of vital amenities has been achieved, comprising an appliance bay, offices, external tower and roof training rig, training areas, mess hall and changing and breathing apparatus cleaning facilities. The station also includes a dedicated community engagement area which is accessible to local groups.

As part of its commitment to reducing carbon impact and helping communities to do the same, Morgan Sindall installed solar panels with battery storage and air source heat pumps as well as high insulation with low air loss to increase energy efficiency. The contractor also supported the local economy by exclusively using local sub-contractors.

In February, a groundbreaking ceremony was held at the new site in Cosham where a £16m facility is being built. The development will consist of a three-storey main building over 2700m2, and a four-storey training tower over 220m2. Since work began, the concrete foundations have been laid following the demolition of the existing building and the steel frame is set to be erected in June before handing over the facility in May next year.

The new facility will provide a specialist training hub with increased space and facilities for operational teams in the east of the county, as well as opportunities for public sector co-location.

Morgan Sindall’s 10 Tonne Challenge was also rolled out which encourages its employees to work with consultants and its supply chain to find intelligent solutions that reduce carbon from the buildings it delivers by a minimum of 10 tonnes.

At Cosham, a total of 534 tonnes of carbon dioxide was saved, the equivalent of heating 172 homes annually. This was achieved during the pre-construction phase where the design team worked to change the foundation from concrete piling to pads, a solution that requires significantly less material, saving carbon and capex.

Meanwhile in Eastleigh, work is well underway at the £3.5m Live Fire Training site, where the team started construction at the beginning of this year to produce a new 120sq. m facility, set to complete in June.

The works will provide a Live Carbonaceous Fire Training Facility and crucially forms a key part of Fire Fighters Training in Hampshire and the surrounding areas.

Once complete, the Live Fire Training Facility will be one of very few of its kind in operation and presents vital experience to trainees as they tackle controlled fire situations whilst experiencing realistic after-effects and complications under supervision.

Due to the specialist nature of the building, Morgan Sindall has provided expertise in supplying materials such as fire-retardant tiles and a specialist duct filtration system.

The design also features a precast concrete frame constructed offsite, reducing the carbon footprint of the transportation of multiple materials. The contractor will also employ CarboniCa, its in-house developed, digital tool, to track and reduce its carbon footprint.

Clifford Kinch, area director for Morgan Sindall’s South region said: “Supporting and improving the local community is fundamental to our operations. These three projects represent our great pride in restoring and implementing local facilities that meet the evolving needs of the community.

“We’re extremely proud to offer our expertise after working on similar projects around the country. Each project also presents a great chance to offer the younger generation of construction with vital hands-on experience. The team feel a great privilege in being able to support the emergency services and look forward to completing each project.”

Arron Hedges, Head of Properties and Facilities at Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We are committed to providing stations with modern and inclusive facilities for the benefit of our colleagues and the communities we’re so proud to serve.

“We worked closely with Morgan Sindall Construction to ensure the new build met our estate design principles, and it’s exciting we are now able to officially open the station and look back on all the work that led us to this point.

“The rebuild of Bishop’s Waltham Fire Station is part of our wider estates improvement programme, with upgrades planned at more stations across Hampshire and Isle of Wight and a brand-new fire station at Cosham, set to become operational next year.”

Bishop’s Waltham Watch Manager Ady Smith said: “I am extremely proud to hold this post during such a historic period for the station and town. The excellent facilities we now have access to will help us keep the public safe.

“As well as training and responding to incidents, we will be able to reach out and engage with our local community from our new station.”

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