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Beard Construction starts work on innovative DTE building at Stowe School

Beard Construction starts work on innovative DTE building at Stowe School

Award-winning contractor Beard has started work on a trailblazing Design, Technology & Engineering (DTE) building at Stowe School in Buckinghamshire. The £5.9 million project will see Beard’s Oxford office build a brand-new, state-of-the-art facility at the school’s campus in the grounds of the historic Stowe House. The two-storey building will

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Beard Construction completes care home developments

Beard Construction completes care home developments

Beard Construction has completed two deluxe Signature Senior Lifestyle care homes under projects worth a combined £24.8m. The two projects – Signature at Caversham, in Berkshire, and Signature at Farnham Common, in Buckinghamshire – provide luxury, high-end apartments and residential communities for residents, delivering nursing, respite and dementia care. High-end

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Beard completes stunning restoration of UK’s oldest lido

Beard Construction has completed a meticulous £6.2m restoration of Cleveland Pools in Bath, the UK’s oldest lido. As well as calling on Beard’s expertise in heritage restoration, the 15-month project to restore the decaying, 207-year-old Georgian site to its former glory had significant logistical challenges – as all plant and

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Beard carries out major refurbishment of private hospital

The operating and patient recovery facilities at a private hospital in Bath are undergoing a major refurbishment by Beard Construction. The five-phase project will see three operating theatres at Circle Health Group’s Bath Clinic revamped and a fourth created from an existing endoscopy suite. The associated patient recovery and anaesthetic

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£17m zero carbon office retrofit fast taking shape

1000 Aztec West, the South West’s first net zero carbon  in operation  out-of-town development, is fast taking shape. Designed by Scott Brownrigg for CEG, 1000 Aztec West near Bristol is set to become a state-of-the-art working environment which promotes inclusivity, sustainability and wellbeing, creating a new benchmark for office spaces

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Beard begins phased reopening of offices to ease isolation

Construction firm Beard has today begun the phased reopening of its offices, welcoming back staff who are struggling with the isolation of remote working. The move follows a successful week-long trial, with a range of safety measures implemented to ensure any risk of coronavirus infection is minimised. The majority of

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Latest Issue

BDC 317 : Jun 2024

beard construction

Beard Construction starts work on innovative DTE building at Stowe School

Beard Construction starts work on innovative DTE building at Stowe School

Award-winning contractor Beard has started work on a trailblazing Design, Technology & Engineering (DTE) building at Stowe School in Buckinghamshire. The £5.9 million project will see Beard’s Oxford office build a brand-new, state-of-the-art facility at the school’s campus in the grounds of the historic Stowe House. The two-storey building will comprise of modern teaching spaces, studios and workshops, and will serve as its own educational resource. Instead of many of the internal finishes traditionally found in other buildings, the structure, joints, beams and bolted connections will be purposely left exposed. All services will be colour-coded and will remain uncovered, allowing students to observe the infrastructure of pipes through internal walls, right through to the plant room. Working alongside architects Design Engine, the project aims to minimise material use and be suitable for deconstruction, should the area ever need to be restored to woodland. With a clear emphasis on structural embodied carbon, the Beard team will be working with key supply chain partner B&K Hybrid Solutions on the timber frame construction consisting of glulam and CLT (cross-laminated timber). Beard has already begun work on the foundations, completing the installation of helical piles ahead of the steel framing and ground floor concrete slab. The project itself is set to complete next autumn. While the site is secured with fencing and hoardings, Beard is working closely with the school to minimise disruption and ensure students and staff remain safe. In addition to scheduling deliveries outside of high-traffic periods, the team are using a separate entrance for heavy goods, helping to protect the weak bridge at the main school entrance. Beard will also be engaging with students in the new year through talks and site visits, allowing pupils to not only experience the finished project, but to ask questions and follow along in its build. Dean Averies, Beard director for Oxford, said: “With our reputation in the education sector, Beard has had the privilege of being involved in a number of prestigious builds across the region. This innovative project is another fantastic example, and we’re incredibly proud to support Stowe School in delivering a state-of-the-art facility to truly bring these exciting subjects to life. “Beard is well known for delivering ambitious buildings to a high standard of quality. This project is a great opportunity for us to demonstrate this and our commitment to prompt and faultless delivery. Not only is there nowhere to hide with many elements of the building remaining exposed, but the entire build and installation must be exemplary, to provide an educational tool and benchmark for students.” Dr Anthony Wallersteiner, head of Stowe School, added: “We are delighted to see Beard start work on the new Design, Technology & Engineering building. Nestled in the grounds of historic Stowe and in the shadow of Silverstone and the UK’s engineering heartland, the cutting-edge DT&E Centre will complement its surroundings, all while providing an extraordinary educational resource for our future architects, designers and engineers. “We look forward to the project completing next autumn and working closely with Beard to share their insight and expertise throughout the build.” Lee Roberts, pre-construction director, B&K Hybrid Solutions, said: “We’re delighted to be delivering the innovative Stowe School alongside Beard and the local authority. BKHS have a great wealth of experience in the education sector, and are excited to add another premium, low-carbon building to our repertoire. The project shows a real commitment to low-carbon building solutions and we look forward to sharing the journey with the students and faculty at Stowe School.” Through its offices in Swindon, Oxford, Guildford and Bristol, Beard has completed education projects across primary, secondary, further education and SEND provisions. In addition to extensive work with Oxford University and its colleges, Beard has worked closely with the likes of Abingdon School, Marlborough College in Wiltshire and Mary Hare School in Newbury – the UK’s largest school for the deaf. For more information, please visit www.beardconstruction.co.uk. Building, Design & Construction Magazine | The Choice of Industry Professionals 

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Beard embarks on multi-million pound renovation of historic Trowbridge Town Hall

Beard embarks on multi-million pound renovation of historic Trowbridge Town Hall

Award-winning contractor Beard has started work on the multi-million pound refurbishment and remodelling of the historic Trowbridge Town Hall.  The £7.15 million contract will see Beard transforming the Grade II listed building into an eye catching music hall for live concerts. This will include the demolition of existing offices and workshop spaces, as well as the removal of the suspended ceiling to expose the hall’s impressive vaulted ceiling. This will be paired with a brand new roof installed by Beard. The remaining floors of the building will also see significant remodelling to create recording studios, offices, performance spaces and breakout rooms which will be open to the public and used by local community groups. In addition, essential repairs and restoration work will take place including the exterior stonework, internal stone archways and exposed timber trusses. The hall’s stained glass windows will also be repaired and retained. Beard is also tasked with improving access to the building, installing an exterior ramp for disabled users and an internal lift to the new music hall. This will be the largest part of demolition to make space for both the lift shaft and new lift. The 18-month project will commence this month and is set to complete in 2025, ready to reopen in the summer. With plans to scaffold the entire building, access the roof and manage deliveries, the town hall’s central location presents significant logistical challenges for Beard to overcome.    In preparation, the team at Beard has spent the past six months working closely with the local council, highways and all major stakeholders to minimise disruption and keep the public safe. As part of both its management plan and enabling works package, Beard has engaged with all parties to plan hoardings, suspend one bus stop and relocate another, and rationalise scaffolding to not impact the highways. Ahead of work beginning, Beard will be setting up hoardings and site boundaries over the course of three nights to avoid disruption to bus services and the local community. One of the suspended stops will also serve as a drop-off point for daytime deliveries. The team also attended a ‘meet the contractor’ event as part of its engagement with the local community, allowing residents and interested parties to find out more about the project and the measures Beard has put in place. Jamie Harwood, director at Beard, said: “We are proud to be supporting the Trowbridge community once again and playing our part in safeguarding the future of the historic town hall. We will call upon our expertise in the heritage sector and with complex listed buildings to ensure the town hall will continue to support the community for many more generations to come. “While the project does present challenges, our team has worked incredibly hard to maintain an open dialogue with all parties to mitigate these and ensure all work can be conducted safely. As a result, we’re confident we can deliver the necessary changes to realise the council’s exciting vision, bringing the quality of construction Beard has become synonymous for over our 130-plus year history.” Cllr Phil Alford, Cabinet Member for Strategic Assets at Wiltshire Council, added: “We are delighted to be working with a renowned local company such as Beard Construction. Their extensive knowledge of working sensitively on historic buildings will ensure the Town Hall remains a landmark community asset for future generations to treasure.” Beard has completed a number of projects in Trowbridge and the surrounding areas, including the complete refitting of the Grade II listed Mill Building at Trowbridge Museum and the sensitive refurbishment and extension of both the Grade II listed Corsham Mansion and the multi-award-winning Corinium Museum, which has doubled exhibition space and improved visitor facilities. For more information, please visit www.beardconstruction.co.uk. Building, Design & Construction Magazine | The Choice of Industry Professionals 

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Beard Construction completes care home developments

Beard Construction completes care home developments

Beard Construction has completed two deluxe Signature Senior Lifestyle care homes under projects worth a combined £24.8m. The two projects – Signature at Caversham, in Berkshire, and Signature at Farnham Common, in Buckinghamshire – provide luxury, high-end apartments and residential communities for residents, delivering nursing, respite and dementia care. High-end materials and finishes – combined with Beard’s reputation for building excellence and quality – ensure five-star hotel comfort across both care homes. Farnham Common, which opened in January 2023, offers luxury assisted living and nursing in 74 studio-style apartments with private wet rooms, alongside facilities which include a café, restaurant, cinema, lounge areas, activity room, a pub, spa bathrooms, hair salon and therapy room. Officially opening in February 2023, Caversham is a four-floor care home with 86 apartments, split across a sloping site with views across to the Caversham lakes. Communal facilities will include the same range of facilities as Farnham Common on hand to residents. Both homes have been constructed from brick and render. Farnham’s roof is a tiled, mono ridge design while Caversham’s is Sarnafil topped with pebbles and lined with paving. Both projects remained operational during the second wave of the Covid pandemic with enhanced health and safety procedures designed to keep staff safe. Beard director Mike Hedges said: “The care sector is important to us, and our expertise means we can help clients to meet the increasing demand for the very best in assisted living spaces. Signature’s attention to detail in these homes and the high level of fit and finish is testament to the quality of living and care demanded by modern-day residents. “Beard’s core aim is to build with ambition and this project more than lives up to that ethos.” Alex Alexandru, General Manager at Signature at Farnham Common, said: “We are delighted to have worked with Beard to demonstrate what is possible in care home design. “As a community within a community, Signature at Farnham Common offers excellent residential, nursing, dementia, and respite care in luxury surroundings. “Our care home has been designed to be a hub of activity, with a host of communal spaces and social activities for residents, supported by highly trained team members committed to delivering true peace of mind to residents, relatives and their loved ones.” Carmela Magbitang, General Manager at Signature at Caversham said: “Signature at Caversham provides a warm, welcoming and luxury community which will offer industry-leading care, luxurious facilities and surroundings along with top-quality dining and nutrition. “We look forward to working in partnership with the communities we serve, both inside and outside of our home. We are also delighted to have partnered once more with Beard, who have meticulously supported us to realise our aspirations for excellence in this project.” Building, Design and Construction Magazine | The Choice of Industry Professionals

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Beard completes stunning restoration of UK’s oldest lido

Beard Construction has completed a meticulous £6.2m restoration of Cleveland Pools in Bath, the UK’s oldest lido. As well as calling on Beard’s expertise in heritage restoration, the 15-month project to restore the decaying, 207-year-old Georgian site to its former glory had significant logistical challenges – as all plant and materials could only be brought to the site by boat on the adjacent River Avon.  Machinery, building materials, equipment and everything else required to carry out the major refurbishment work on the Grade II* listed site was loaded up at the nearby Avon Rugby Club, which was used as a base, and carried up-river by barge. The barge was limited to carrying five tonnes of material per trip and made about six trips a day -navigating around everything from pleasure craft to the canoeists and kayakers who shared the river.  The work saw the creation of a new crescent-shaped waterproof concrete main pool within the footprint of the original, listed red-brick pool, which was preserved beneath it. Work began with the draining of the existing pool, followed by the installation of a system of drainage crates to allow natural spring water to continue to flow into the listed pool and around the shell of the new one. The existing children’s pool walls were temporarily held in place while the team excavated out the base to construct the waterproof, below-ground plantroom which is now home to the pool filtration equipment, along with hi-spec water source heat pumps which will be used to heat the pool water.  A refreshment kiosk and seating area is now housed above the plantroom. Curving around one length, the original Georgian changing rooms and a central cottage with archway were made structurally safe, restored, stripped of centuries of paint back to their original Bath stone and re-roofed in Welsh slate – some of which was reclaimed from the original roofs. New terrace seating was also added, as well as a new toilet and shower block. Outdoor chrome showers also flank both pools. As well as allowing for access, water from the river will feed the water source heat pumps, providing the Pools with a sustainable heating solution when the pool fully re-opens to the public in spring next year and heating the pool to 28 degrees centigrade. The pool is now ready to welcome its first swimmers. Hundreds entered a competition to be the first to swim and the winning 100 will do so on Saturday, September 10 – from when the pool will be open to the public for a preview, cold-water season. The restoration is the culmination of an extraordinary 18-year community campaign by the Cleveland Pools Trust, supported by thousands of Bathonians. The trust’s tireless campaign has taken the 207-year-old, Grade II* listed site from the lows of its closure in 1984 and a threat of demolition in 2003, to the highs of its stunning, present-day restoration. The overall cost of the project is £9.3m, £6.47m of which came from The National Lottery Heritage Fund. The project has also had significant support from the DCMS Capital Kickstart Fund, Historic England and Bath and North East Somerset Council. Bath-based architectural practice Donald Insall Associates were lead designers on the project with Hydrock carrying out the structural design. The restoration has been led by project director Anna Baker, a chartered architect who specialises in historic buildings. Anna said: “I am proud to have played a part in a restoration that many didn’t believe was possible. It’s been complex and very challenging. But it’s also been unique, the project of a lifetime. “We are a small project team and could not have done it without the help of our hundreds of volunteers. It’s been a real privilege to work on such a community-driven undertaking. “I’ve especially enjoyed taking this from a community heritage scheme to a project which engages with wellbeing, culture, sustainable energy and the natural environment.” Beard’s project manager Mark Tregelles added: “This has been a rare opportunity to restore a heritage building to its original use. Although logistically challenging, the overriding theme of this project has been collaboration. Working together with Anna, her team, volunteers and local residents has meant that no problem has been insurmountable. “Having access only by river has really tested our initiative, not only getting materials in and out of the project but also in the method of construction, given the limited plant and equipment that we could get to the site. Overall, it has been an honour to breathe new life into an historic landmark which can now be enjoyed for generations to come.” David Barnes, associate director at Donald Insall Associates, said: “We are delighted to have had the opportunity to lead the design team for the restoration of this precious historic outdoor public pool. The restored and updated facilities at Cleveland Pools present a new and exciting chapter for continued enjoyment of this much-loved site that is inescapably part of Bath’s rich bathing heritage”.

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Beard carries out major refurbishment of private hospital

The operating and patient recovery facilities at a private hospital in Bath are undergoing a major refurbishment by Beard Construction. The five-phase project will see three operating theatres at Circle Health Group’s Bath Clinic revamped and a fourth created from an existing endoscopy suite. The associated patient recovery and anaesthetic rooms will also be transformed, alongside new staff changing and toilet areas and the installation in a new roof of the significant new infrastructure needed to power and operate the state-of-the-art equipment in the new facilities. The challenges of the £3.5m refurbishment are calling upon Beard’s extensive experience of working on medical developments. Three of the four operating theatres will always remain in use while the work is undertaken and the entire project will take place alongside the clinical environment of the hospital – with minimum disruption to the on-going, 24/7 patient services. Beard is also pulling together and managing a range of expert sub-contractors providing specialist equipment including medical gas supplies, surgeons panels, hospital building management system panels and nurse-call systems. The work is on track to be completed by July 2023. Three of the theatres sit in the basement of a two-storey building with patient recovery facilities on the floor above. Beard has re-felted, insulated and re-purposed the crinkle-tin roof above this building to hold the new infrastructure needed to run the operating theatres and recovery areas below. This roof area will also house new a standalone air-heating unit as well as parallel unique and isolated power supplies. The installation will include several 300-tonne crane lifts, as the control systems are lowered into place above the patient recovery areas. The project is currently in phase one, with phase zero seeing the roof conversion and installation of system infrastructure and the stand-alone endoscopy unit converted to a fully-fledged operating theatre. The remaining four phases will now work through the conversion of the existing three operating theatres. Beard Swindon director Jamie Harwood said: “Beard’s commitment to minimising the impact of our work on the local environment has already been taken to new levels on this project. “To carry out this extensive refurbishment alongside or above a working, clinical environment is exceptionally challenging. But we’re working with the hospital staff and our sub-contractors to make it happen. “The final product will transform the operating environment and facilities for patients and staff at Bath Clinic.” A spokesperson for Circle Health Group said: “The refurbishment work taking place at Bath Clinic is making good on our promise to offer our patients the very best facilities and services. As the hospital enters its 40th year treating and serving the community, this investment project is a commitment to continuing to deliver outstanding care to patients in Bath and further afield for another 40 years.”

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£17m zero carbon office retrofit fast taking shape

1000 Aztec West, the South West’s first net zero carbon  in operation  out-of-town development, is fast taking shape. Designed by Scott Brownrigg for CEG, 1000 Aztec West near Bristol is set to become a state-of-the-art working environment which promotes inclusivity, sustainability and wellbeing, creating a new benchmark for office spaces in the UK. South Gloucestershire council leader Toby Savage has visited the site to see the rapid progress of the £17m transformation which is being delivered by Beard Construction. The structure’s  existing 1980s footings, frame and building structure  have been  retained,  saving some 1.7 million kg of carbon and creating a pathway to a net zero carbon development. The savings have been made by a clever conversion of the existing steel frame and much of the preparatory work was devoted to shot-blasting a cement fire treatment from the steel, which was then given a rust-proof coating. With the steel skeleton work complete, the existing roof will be removed to create a new floor and roof, which will see the capacity of the building grow from 38,000 sq ft to 80,000 sq ft, creating space for an 850-strong workforce. Councillor Savage, South Gloucestershire Council Leader and cabinet member for the local economy, said: “South Gloucestershire is the economic powerhouse of the West of England  and  is a fantastic place  to live, work and base a business. We welcome CEG’s confidence in this location, which, thanks to its excellent connectivity, is booming. “This building is being re-developed and modernised with sustainability in mind and is in line with our own ambitious goal of tackling the climate emergency by becoming carbon neutral by 2030. The 1000 Aztec West redevelopment fits into a wider picture of significant investment in office, residential and leisure facilities in this part of our district – from the thousands of new homes being built on the former Filton Airfield, to nearby landmark leisure facilities like surfing centre The Wave, Bristol Zoo’s Wild Place and the recently opened ice rink Planet Ice.” Paul Richardson, investment manager at CEG, said: “The development delivers the key requirements of contemporary tenants – environmental sustainability, staff wellbeing, on-site facilities and data connectivity, all of which respond to the requirements of businesses seeking to provide with people with the best  workspace environment.” Ed Hayden, Director at Scott Brownrigg, said:  “It’s great to visit the site with Councillor Toby Savage and see the work progressing on our Aztec 1000 design for CEG. The lakeside setting and carbon conscious design will make this a really exciting new addition to the Park.” Designed to meet BREEAM Excellent and EPC A, 1000 Aztec West will be powered by renewable energy and use energy-efficient heating, cooling and lighting systems. A striking three-storey atrium will be added to the centre of the stunning new, all-glass structure which will include a secure cycle block with male and female showers and changing facilities to encourage sustainable travel. A 1,300 sq ft gym and wellness facility will be the heartbeat of the building, with daily gym and yoga classes to help tenants balance their work and leisure commitments. Attractive indoor spaces will provide places to eat, meet, drink and work, with access to Wi-Fi and plug-in points. Outside,  a new café, decked terrace  area  and rooftop terraces will overlook Aztec West’s existing lake and parkland. Completion  of  the  project  is  expected  in  summer  2023.  More  information  is  available  at: www.1000aztecwest.co.uk

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Beard replaces historic columns as part of refurbishment of Grade I listed library

Oxford-based construction firm Beard is replacing 28 historic columns as part of a major refurbishment of a Grade I listed building, within the grounds of one of the UK’s most important architectural sites.   The family-run firm, which specialises in the education sector, has been onsite from July at St John’s College, Oxford, to work on the £10m project to refurbish the 16th century Old Library and 17th century Laudian Library extension, located in the Canterbury Quadrangle. The columns are a central part of the historic Quadrangle and had been beginning to fail structurally, ruling out a cosmetic repair. Once it was clear the columns would need to be removed, Wright and Wright architects and the Beard team set out to find the right replacements. As a world-famous seat of learning and listed building it was essential to ensure the aesthetic of the new columns remained in keeping with the rest of the building, however the site where the original stone was quarried has long closed down. The stone for the original columns is Bletchingdon marble and was mined locally. By working with expert stonemasonry firm, Szerelmey and Wright & Wright architects, a carboniferous limestone, Swaledale fossil, was identified as the ideal replacement. As the stone is not commonly used in Oxford, approval from Oxford City Planning Department and Historic England had to be sought. After passing these approvals, the stone was quarried and carefully worked to shape. The columns are particularly important as Canterbury Quadrangle is one of the few remaining examples in the UK of the high baroque architectural style, dating back to the early 17th century. The project manager at St John’s, Jonathan Brock from Beard explained: “It is a massive honour to be entrusted to work on a building of such huge historical and cultural significance. As the columns are vital for the structure, it was crucial we found the perfect stone. “By working with the expert team at Szerelmey and the team at the College, we’ve found the ideal replacement that will ensure the aesthetic of the College remains, while ensuring it is structurally sound. “The building has to be temporarily propped while the columns are removed and despite all the planning we’ve done it is still a nerve-wracking experience to replace the columns.” Beard, which has won a number of contracts from the University of Oxford in recent years, was trusted with this historically important building due to the quality of work and faultless delivery for phase one of the project, and its track record in the wider education sector. Zoe Hancock, Principal Bursar of St John’s College, said: “A site of such national importance requires a high calibre of expertise and quality of work which Beard and the team have delivered. “The replacement of the columns is a significant step in the refurbishment of this exceptionally historic building and to ensure it remains safe and sound for future generations.” The final phase of work is expected to be finished by early 2023 and consists of refurbishment of the College’s existing Laudian Library and Old Library, with remodelling of an area known as the Paddy Room under the Old Library.

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Beard completes work on £20m redevelopment project at St Hilda’s College, Oxford

Family-run construction firm Beard has completed one of the biggest contracts in its history with a major redevelopment at St Hilda’s College, in the University of Oxford. The city’s famous skyline and its dreaming spires, have another architectural gem added to them with the completion at St Hilda’s, and the crowning of its tower in gold foliage. The £20m Front of College project also represents the largest redevelopment of the college in its history, having been completed to mark its 125th anniversary. Described as ‘architecturally stunning’ by the College, key aspects of the estate have been altered as part of the project, including the entrance, the street-view and the riverside frontage. The brief was to provide student accommodation (54 bedrooms), and to bring together key College administration functions into one place. The specifics of the work include: New main entrance to the college New accommodation for students New Boundary Building to house the Middle Common Room, Chapel and Porter’s Lodge New high-quality teaching and office space New riverside pavilion for entertaining Crowning of the tower using aluminium gold leaves mounted around a steel frame, painted by hand with bespoke St Hilda’s Gold. The new accommodation is a key element in the redevelopment as it relieves both the financial pressure for students of finding accommodation in the private rental market, and also eases some demand for accommodation in the city. Dean Averies, director at Oxford-based Beard, said the construction firm was successful in its bid for the work due to its track record in the education sector and especially with the University of Oxford. He said: “St Hilda’s has been a fantastic project for Beard to work on, especially as it marks a special anniversary for the College. “We understood the constraints of the College from the start, so the two-stage procurement route gave us time to work through issues before we got to site. “There were some challenges along the way as we had identified a number of significant gaps in the design information, which we had to fill to enable the project to progress. Of course, we subsequently had the ongoing restrictions due to coronavirus, which we were able to absorb and work around. “However, we were able to hand over on schedule and delivered on the original vision to create an inspiring place to live, work and study, for the next 125 years.” Neil Hyatt, Head of Buildings, St Hilda’s College added: “Beard has worked tirelessly with the novated design team and subcontractors, to ensure that the best possible outcome was achieved for St Hilda’s College. “Despite the challenges due to Coronavirus, as promised, our study rooms were ready on time for the start of the academic year. This was a collaborative project and the successful outcome was driven by contracts manager Steve Lambourne and his team. “Everyone is stunned by the architecture, the quality of finish and above all Beard’s commitment, to meeting client expectations.”

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Beard begins phased reopening of offices to ease isolation

Construction firm Beard has today begun the phased reopening of its offices, welcoming back staff who are struggling with the isolation of remote working. The move follows a successful week-long trial, with a range of safety measures implemented to ensure any risk of coronavirus infection is minimised. The majority of office-based employees will continue to work from home, in line with the guidance from government, but conversations with staff members have revealed that some feel they would benefit from the interaction of an office environment. More than 90 per cent of Beard sites remained operational throughout the ‘lockdown’ period and work has already resumed on all others. The lessons learned from adapting working practices on site have been instrumental in enabling the firm to reopen its offices safely. A dedicated project manager has been appointed for each of the firm’s offices in Swindon, Guildford, Oxford and Bristol. They have overseen the process of ensuring that staff can return to the office safely. Those wishing to do so have all signed a declaration that they have not experienced symptoms of Covid-19 and complete an induction on the safety measures they need to be aware of. Beard has also prepared a short video for staff to help them with the new working arrangements, and this has been made available via the firm’s YouTube channel: Clear signage has been put up in all buildings to help staff to keep a two-metre distance at all times, with provision for a rota system to ensure reduced occupancy. Other safety measures include a ban on the use of meeting rooms, with meetings continuing to be held remotely where possible, and in open areas when absolutely necessary, while maintaining social distancing. Mike Hedges, director of Beard’s Bristol office and with overall responsibility for health and safety, commented: “The health and wellbeing of our staff is our top priority. We are not requiring anyone to return to the office but we know from talking to staff that there are some – particularly those who live alone – for whom full-time remote working has been challenging. “Mental wellbeing is every bit as important as physical health. We want to do our utmost to cater for the varied needs our colleagues have, while ensuring they are protected from unnecessary risk of infection. “It has been particularly valuable in achieving this to draw on the experiences of colleagues who have continued to work on site. They have performed minor miracles in adapting to safer working practices to protect against Covid-19 and the firm is extremely grateful to them for their efforts.”

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