Planning and project management precision, Lincoln Court & the Centre of Excellence


The Brief

City of York Council needed to create two new purpose-built facilities in response to the increased amount of support necessary for children with complex disabilities, as well as additional assisted living support for the elderly.

Having already built a strong relationship with York Council across several projects previously, Sewell Construction was appointed as the contractor to deliver two specialist projects side-by-side.

The two projects had the following requirements to consider;

Centre of Excellence – The Beehive

  • Developing a brand-new space which can provide a range of support services to children with complex needs,
  • Providing a safe and accessible space for play and interaction with family members and staff,
  • Configuring the space to create spacious bedrooms with specialist equipment, open spaces for those with learning disabilities or autism, and quieter self-contained areas that can be used for children who may struggle in more open, busier environments.

Lincoln Court

  • Upgrading and refurbishing rooms within an existing building,
  • Meeting the specific needs of wheelchair users,
  • Extending the existing building to increase capacity.

The Solution

The solution was to run the two projects consecutively.

Centre of Excellence – The Beehive

  • One of the key drivers of the project was the necessity of involving the end-users in the design of the building. Children, young people, parents, and carers were engaged with from the offset to help decide what was included, how it should look and what it should be called,
  • Proposals were put together to create a brand new two-storey building to encompass the needs of the facility,
  • External works would see the creation of a new car park, landscaping, large play areas and secure areas for the children,
  • Throughout the entire process, there were regular design reviews, sharing of ideas for features, fixtures, colours, and design.

Lincoln Court

  • Significant structural alterations were needed, including the renovation of the entire building which consisted of three-storeys,
  • Reconfiguration of the space meant that the existing building was to be extended to the back, as well as the refurbishment of the existing space,
  • The solution was a traditional build, consisting of block and brick work, as well as a complete re-roofing of the building. The focus was to ensure that all brick work, roof tiles and features matched the existing building to create a seamless addition onto the existing.

The Challenges

Deciding to run the projects parallel to one another doubled the challenges for the site team and required a strict logistical plan to ensure the smooth running of the operation from start to finish.

Efficient project management and communication was key throughout, with very precise delivery, access, and egress schedules, being followed.

The outbreak of coronavirus also meant there were delays to materials, labour and progress, but a strict health and safety regime was put in place, on top of the standard health and safety practices that are followed on all of our construction sites.

Lincoln Court:

  • Significant structural alterations to the existing building meant there were technical challenges to contend with. Systematic planning was needed to determine how the building would be temporarily propped, and then the steelwork supports also needed to be slotted in – it’s a good job the site team are good at jigsaw puzzles!
  • Working with a live, operational school on the site’s doorstep with the same access points,
  • The piling work needed to be undertaken inside the building to support the columns. There were multiple layers of props on each side due to the removal of structural brickwork and addition of structural beams,
  • Other logistical challenges included the diversion of drainage.

Centre of Excellence:

  • The site was adjacent to an existing housing estate which posed access restrictions and challenges,
  • Couldn’t get articulated vehicles onto site due to tight bends in the road and so this was a logistical exercise. Traffic management was paramount,
  • Safe demolition of existing buildings to make room for the new build,
  • The creation of a separate site access and temporary car park,

The Results

The successful collaboration and continued communication throughout both projects resulted in the completion of two purpose-built, crucial facilities for the people of York.

Centre of Excellence

Awareness for conditions such as ADHD and Autism has increased over recent years, leading to a greater need for specialist facilities like this. The Beehive Mill has given the people of York a central place for children to go to, a ‘home away from home’ for them to get the best possible support.

With the important involvement of the end-users, an aesthetically pleasing centre for children with physical and emotional disabilities, and complex needs has been created, with one main aim – to improve the lives of people in the city.

The top floor is purely occupied by staff with a communal office, staff accommodation, changing room, showers, and meeting rooms.

The Centre of Excellence can now provide a short-term respite for those who need it most:

  • Accommodation for 8 people as well as staff,
  • Day section,
  • Courtyard in the centre,
  • Communal kitchen,
  • 3 separate accommodation blocks that each represent the needs of people staying there such as hoists for the disabled, padded rooms / de-escalation rooms / and sensory rooms.

Lincoln Court

Support for the elderly is just as paramount, and the new Lincoln Court can now provide the following;

  • Elderly adult accommodation and assisted living,
  • 15 brand new apartments and 20 refurbished,
  • Communal lounge and kitchen areas,
  • Back offices,

The quality workmanship sees a seamless extension where the end-users cannot tell where the old building ends, and the new build starts. Patient care can now be enhanced and improved, proving the importance of a dedicated, high-quality space for individuals.

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“NHS England and NHS Improvement is delighted to support this much-needed development in the City of York. The involvement of children and their families has been integral from the outset of the Beehive project, and we believe that involvement will help lead to a successful service that will benefit many more children to live full and meaningful lives in their local communities.”

Philippa Hughes, Housing Senior Manager for the NHS Learning Disability and Autism Programme in Yorkshire and Humber

“The Beehive enables us to meet the very specific needs of York children with complex disabilities and their families for the first time, providing them with the care and support they need within the city. I’d like to thank everyone who has been involved in this project for their passion and commitment, including the parents and young people who have helped us shape the services and building right from the design stage. I hope that the young people and their families enjoy the facility as a new ‘home from home’.”

Cllr Keith Orrell, Executive Member for Children, Young People and Education

“Lincoln Court is a credit to the whole project team. I know the project has presented some challenges to us all but when we look at where we all started with this project and what we have managed to deliver together, we are very proud of what has been achieved. I know that we have created some lovely homes for our residents and some great facilities for the wider community.”

Vicky Japes, Head of the Older Persons Accommodation Programme

“Improving Lincoln Court is an important part of York’s older persons’ accommodation programme which is working to ensure that the city’s growing population of older people have access to a wide range of modern accommodation. Moving into good quality, purpose-built homes such as this will offer, is proven to give residents increased independence, confidence and, in many cases, less need for support from care services.”

Cllr Carol Runciman, executive member for adult social care and health