London & South East

Work now well underway on new state-of-the-art library

The Forum in Southend-on-Sea is a unique and exciting partnership project which will bring a brand new learning facility to the heart of Southend Town Centre.

Worth £27million, the enterprise is being delivered jointly by Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, the University of Essex and South Essex College. Due to be completed in August 2013, The Forum will provide the town with a state-of-the-art integrated municipal and academic public library.

By pooling their resources in this way the three partners can offer residents and students alike unprecedented access to the books, archives and records they jointly hold. There will be room for people of all ages, young and old, to read, study, research and take part in different activities at the new library.

In addition the four-storey building will create a modern new teaching facility for the College and a stimulating new research and learning environment for the University.

The development is vital to enable the University of Essex to provide the best possible learning facilities for its growing number of students in Southend. It will also give the College more dedicated teaching space for its higher education provision in partnership with the University.

Set within a new public square The Forum Southend-on-Sea will be the new home of the Focal Point Gallery as well as a new café and lecture theatre. It will act as a major forum for community-based activities and become an integral part of the town centre, assisting in its re-generation.

The Council is providing £12.5m towards the cost of the project, with the University contributing £10.4m and the College £4m.

Work began in March 2012 after Wates Construction emerged from a rigorous procurement process as the chosen contractors for the prestigious scheme. Their appointment will bring economic benefits for south east Essex as the firm has pledged to source as much labour and materials from the local area as possible.

Wates has committed to commissioning 75 per cent of its supply chain partners from within a 50-mile radius of Southend. It is also hiring four apprentices, staging ‘community days’ in the area and hosting 70 work experience days for local students and school pupils.

The firm has further recruited local unemployed people to take part in a two-week training course with the hope of finding them work or further training opportunities.

Fifteen local residents who are not in employment, education or training (NEET) are now part of the project which gives those taking part an overview of the construction industry as a whole. The ambitious two week programme covers everything from team building to an A-Z of construction and the wide range of different trades it offers, from bricklaying and carpentry and beyond to the likes of accounting and architecture.

Speaking about the scheme, Kevin Dyke, Project Manager for Wates Construction, said:

“It’s not all theory as people on the project have also been enjoying half day taster sessions where they get to learn real life skills in carpentry, bricklaying, painting and decorating. When they have tried all of those they get to go back and learn more about one of those areas they have enjoyed.”

He added:

“Those taking part in it from Southend have really got a lot out of the scheme. Sessions like this help give young people a real idea of what career paths are on offer, what choices they have and the possibilities that are open to them.”

Thomas Farrar, 19, from Southend, had never done anything like this before and was really enjoying the hands-on experience and future opportunities it would hopefully give him.

He said: “Out of all of the areas we’ve tried I really liked the bricklaying and I’m looking forward to this project hopefully opening some doors for me and getting me a job. I’ve never had this kind of opportunity before so it’s great that we are being given a chance and being given practical help and advice.”

For more information on The Forum then visit

GVA Schatunowski Brooks

GVA Schatunowski Brooks (GVASB) was acquired by GVA five years ago when it was Schatunowski Brooks, one of the country’s leading rights of light and party wall specialists. Schatunowski Brooks has existed effectively since 1972 with the current directors having been involved since 1982.

The company gives advice to a wide range of development companies, property companies, housing associations, local authorities and private individuals advising on all sizes of developments.

Most recently GVASB worked on The Forum in Southend-on-Sea, the company provided advice on the bulk and mass available to redevelop the site that would sit within rights of light and Sunlight/Daylight matters. This was undertaken in conjunction with the scheme architects and took the form of 3-D modelling and reporting. The final proposed scheme was checked for compliance and a planning application report provided. GVASB also advised on legal issues surrounding rights of light.

Rock and Alluvium

Rock and Alluvium has been providing augured piling solutions to the civil engineering and building sectors of the construction industry since 1963.

In 1989 Rock & Alluvium joined the Galliford Group which later merged with Try to eventually become Galliford Try plc.

The company is an independently audited member of the Federation of Piling Specialists (FPS) thus giving surety to customers that best practices are being adopted for the design and installation of piles.

When asked what the company prides itself on Stan Goddard, Estimating Manager, said:

“We are proud to announce that we have the following independently audited accreditations: – ISO 9001 – Quality Systems; OHSAS 18001 – Safety Management System; ISO 14001 – Environment; CHAS and Achilles – Building Confidence.

“We take pride in our ability to safely deliver on or ahead of schedule and budget. Our success is based on our ability to be flexible and to offer clients what they need, irrespective of the size, complexity or nature of the project.”

With strategically located offices and Fleet Services Depot, Rock & Alluvium can offer its customers a value for money service throughout England and Wales.

The company has developed specific expertise in key market sectors such as Housing, Commercial,

Public and Industrial and has an annual turnover in excess of £14m.

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