Capita Symonds is one of the UK's largest and most diverse multidisciplinary consultancies operating in the building design, civil engineering, environment, management and transport sectors. With over 3,700 staff in 45 UK offices we offer an unrivalled scope of services and a unique blend of professional and technical skills to schemes of all types and complexities.
From sustainable communities and revolutionary eco-towns, to pioneering eco-schools and sophisticated waste management plans, Capita Symonds is at the forefront of delivering sustainable development and regeneration.
What’s more, as well as being central to the advice we provide, sustainability is also core to our own business strategy - our architecture team recently unveiled a new sustainability strategy that will see the company designing zero carbon buildings for 70% of all its jobs by 2010.
Mark Hirst, Capita Symonds’ Director of Planning, discusses the company’s Regeneration and Communities projects - see end of page
Some of Capita Symonds’ sustainability and regeneration projects that have really ‘added value’…
1) Northfleet Embankment (Thames Gateway) SEEDA
This is a critical site within the Thames Gateway area. Capita Symonds is leading on town planning and is preparing the EIA for a development comprising 1800 houses, school, neighbourhood centre, employment space and necessary infrastructure. The site sits next to the Thames and is prone to flooding, so also requires flood protection. Costs associated with raising the site in a wholesale fashion significantly constrained the financial viability of the scheme.
By bringing all parties together Capita Symonds identified a site specific solution capable of reducing the potential risk of flooding without the requirement for wholesale land raise through the creation of raised platforms.
- Delivering value through reuse and maximising local materials…
- Flood risk management solution reduced costs unlocking the sites development potential
- Creation of raised platforms:
- - avoided wholesale land raise
- - reduced cost
- Raised platform allowed for a more imaginative design approach
2) East Hall Farm, north-east quadrant of Sittingbourne
As planning, masterplanning and environmental consultants, for a mixed use development site, our designers addressed site constraints by optimising the functionality of the infrastructure elements, to provide multiple benefits.
Delivering value through sustainable design…
- Main access was routed so that its embankment would double as a flood protection bund.
- The development platforms were set at a level to yield fill for the embankment whilst also reducing the intrusion of the employment units in the landscape.
- A constructed wetland, included as part of a sustainable urban drainage (SUD), was located to serve as a buffer to the SSI designated site, a landscape feature for the approaches to the development and to provide a habitat as a receptor site for reptiles (once established) for later phases of the development.
3) OpTIC Technium Centre, Welsh Development Agency (WDA)
In a scheme expected to safeguard 1000 jobs, the £15.7M OpTIC Technium Centre was commissioned by the Welsh Development Agency for St Asaph Business Park as part of its economic sustainability strategy.
With sustainability being a key driver and the WDA wanting a BREEAM excellent building, the scheme integrated Photovoltaic Cells into the architectural design - avoiding the common pitfall of the arrays looking like an after thought. Through the provision of grant funding and an efficient building process the cost impact on the scheme was managed so that the business case payback was successful at just 20 yrs breakeven.
Delivering value by integrating sustainability into design…
- The PV wall, the largest in Europe, is integrated into the building design and saves 22 tonnes of CO2 a year
- Innovative grant funding delivered the scheme
- Winner ‘Sustainable Building of the Year’, 2005
- RICS Wales Award 2005 sustainability
- BREEAM construction excellence award – excellent rating
4) ExCel Exhibition Centre, Energy Centre, London
Development of the £200 m ExCel Exhibition Centre placed a significant load on the surrounding infrastructure. Sufficient on-site electricity generation was designed into the scheme to allow ExCel to operate independently of the local supply network.
In addition to the provision of generation plant that could operate in ‘island mode’, waste heat generated by the plant was utilized for heating or in absorption chillers capable of meeting the site’s demand for chilled water.
Delivering value through saving energy…
- Use of embedded generation together with the utilization of waste heat to serve the site has resulted in a low carbon solution to meeting this very large demand for heat and power.
- Enhanced the local electrical supply infrastructure bring significant benefits to the local economy
5) Urban Vision, Sustainable Procurement
Urban Vision, a Capita Symonds managed multidisciplinary Joint Venture, set sustainability as a priority when it was established in 2005. By examining its services separately and producing a list of objectives for each at the outset, we have been able to introduce environmentally friendly initiatives as standard practice – delivering sustainability through the procurement process and into delivery.
Delivering value by supporting what we believe in…
By establishing the Salford construction partnerships to deliver regeneration, we have delivered on regeneration and are adding value to the community through delivering tangible benefits beyond our scope:
- One of our engineering construction partners and its aggregate supplier helped to make a local donkey sanctuary more accessible for people with special needs by donating aggregate to repair walking trails.
- One of our partners found a new home for a Steam Engine for a local community group, saving them £10,000.
- Increased labour capacity has benefited local small firms and major contractors alike: enabling continued growth and stimulating the local economy.
One contractor Labour Manager has been quoted as saying: “The Salford Construction Partnership is the most successful model we have worked with as it is all about delivering jobs and opportunities on the ground and not just attending meetings”.
6) Newport Southern Distributor Road, PFI
Capita Symonds acted on behalf of the client for the developing and implementation of this road scheme which was designed to improve the environment of Newport city centre, provide access to existing industrial areas and brownfield sites, and help the Council meet its integrated transport objectives. Sustainable procurement objectives were used.
Delivering value by designing to last…
- Use of non-prescriptive material specifications and full life cycle cost encouraged contractor innovation
- This resulted in £1 million savings through use of recycled material
- Green Apple Award for 2003
- National Champion for Best Environmental Practice in the building & construction sector
For further information contact Mark Skelton, Director of Capita Symonds’ Sustainability team – firstname.lastname@example.org
Capita Symonds’ Director of Development Planning Mark Hirst discusses the company’s Regeneration and Communities projects
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