Steeper Group, Leeds


Challenge:

Steeper Group delivers world-leading technologies and products across the fields of prosthetics, orthotics and assistive technology.

Steeper’s facility in Leeds was flooded at Christmas in 2015 and a new manufacturing facility and headquarters was needed to bring more than 200 office and factory staff together under one roof, complementing and supporting the work of the company’s dedicated centres across the country in a multi-million investment.

Sewell Construction was appointed to develop the company’s new £2m headquarters – a centre of excellence within an existing industrial unit in a 21-week programme.

 

Development:

Sewell Construction was approached as a result of our track record in the area.

We worked as a single team for six months before work began, developing the design, cost plan and programme in unison to enable an early start on site.

Detailed design workshops were held during the pre-construction phase with each of the Steeper teams, enabling the design of highly-utilised and efficient working spaces.

Sewell championed the partnering ethos, joining forces on every key work package with a Yorkshire based sub-contract partner, driving efficiencies and values, and achieving a 30% reduction on build costs from the initial cost plan.

A key aspect of the design was finding an appropriate solution for the workshop and office space within the warehouse area of the building. A Metsec system was designed which achieved the required rigidity in the absence of a ceiling fixing.

 

Delivery:

Partnering and open book working was at the forefront of delivery and a key focus for the client was the retention of jobs in Leeds, with 89% local labour achieved on the scheme.

As we were working within an enclosed building which continued to be used by Steeper’s staff throughout, we had to adopt robust procedures to avoid the use of any harmful chemicals and fuels. Plant machinery powered by diesel was strictly prohibited.

Achieving business continuity for Steeper was prioritised in delivery and, through detailed planning and liaison with Steeper staff, we constructed a temporary storage within the building.

This allowed them to occupy and utilise large areas of the site while we safely constructed the final solution around them, undertaking works outside normal working hours to avoid downtime for the client.

We then allowed Steeper’s specialist caterers, furniture, fixtures and equipment installers, as well as hygiene specialists, into the building while we finished our works, with regular dialogue to ensure a smooth completion

To build excitement and to engage Steeper staff, weekly newsletters were produced with progress photos of team areas and site tours were coordinated.

There was significant amount of change to manage during the programme with approximately 15% of the contract sum subject to variation, including the incorporation of a new department from a different site. Regular meetings were held with Steeper’s finance team to ensure everything remained on track.

Contamination was encountered during the construction of the Thermal Oxidizers and was successfully managed to avoid any delays to the completion date.

Through engagement with a specialist remediation company, we also managed to reduce the costs of removing the contaminated spoil by 50%.

 

Results:

The scheme was delivered on time, on budget and without any accidents, and the supply chain was 100% Yorkshire-based.

Two apprentices gained experience through the delivery of the joinery works on the scheme.

The development has been shortlisted in the 2018 RICS Awards Commercial category.

Appointed to several EU compliant frameworks
17 major public facilities in the past 4 years
education and health facilities delivered within agreed cost envelopes
Construction excellence academic journal published worldwide as book
A great place to work, a great company to deal with
We aim to turn every £1 into £3 for our local economy

0.24

accident frequency rate in 2016

“Sewell Construction has been very accommodating, flexible and tentative to our needs. Our staff have been very positive and they like their new environment. It’s really good to have everyone in one place. It saves time, energy and money.”

Graham Jones, Head of Facilities, Environmental Health, Safety and Quality at Steeper Group