Crime put under the spotlight with modern forensics facility
This state-of-the-art forensics centre gives London's Metropolitan Police Service (the Met) world-class, flexible facilities with bespoke DNA clean rooms - and enables it to support the front line of policing more effectively.
109 Lambeth Road, Block B refurbishment Project summary
Metropolitan Police Service
- Start date
- May 2013
- End date
- April 2016
Our refurbishment to create the largest forensics centre in the UK helped the Met to bring together its forensic teams and reduce the operational costs of its estates. At peak, 1,800 people can be accommodated within the centre through encouraging new agile ways of working.
The Met is responsible for law enforcement in Greater London, but also has a national remit: leading on counter-terrorism, and the protection of the British Royal Family and senior politicians under the newly merged Royalty and Special Protection Team, which will be wholly based in the new centre rather than split across several sites.
Working on a live operational police centre of such national importance, meant minimising disruption was paramount. We mitigated this impact by phasing works, so the Met could continue its 24/7 operations. We also had to regularly revise work schedules at short notice to accommodate the Met's operational requirements.
We have worked for the Met Police for more than ten years, providing construction and consultancy services for a wide range of projects across the capital, recently also completing its new training and operational facilities in Hendon.
Points of note
Phased deliveryThe project was split into two phases so that the building could remain operational throughout. In phase 1 we installed all the new central plant for the building, along with refurbishing the fourth and fifth floors. These floors include specialist, state-of-the-art laboratory facilities for the Forensic Services Directorate, including DNA and trace-evidence scientific teams, the fingerprint bureau, specialist imaging and digital electronic forensic services. Completion of the first phase allowed us to work on the lower four floors.
Specialist requirementsThe building contained specialist technical areas, including a secure firing range for firearm investigation and ballistics analysis. DNA testing and forensic analysis needs to take place in clean rooms and specialist laboratories with specialist airflow regimes and filtration. It was essential that we carefully liaised with users to ensure that there was absolutely no disruption while we upgraded these critical building services.
Constant budget revisionPublically funded projects often face intense scrutiny. We assisted the Met with multiple changes due to operational flux and undertook value engineering to rationalise the design and maximise value for money, while still delivering the enhanced brief.
Modelling new over oldOriginally constructed in the 1960s, existing building information on Block B was unclear. As the building was stripped back to its shell at the appropriate project phase, a 3D laser point cloud scanned and surveyed it to within 3mm accuracy, creating new, accurate drawings for the team. Clever use of building information modelling (BIM) then enabled new designs to be layered onto the existing structure.
Flexibility requiredOur team demonstrated flexibility throughout the programme, reworking schedules to react to changes in the Met's operational requirements. These included planned events, such as regular highly policed events like the Notting Hill carnival, as well as unforeseen events such as the state funeral of former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
“Mace’s £60m refurbishment of the Metropolitan Police Service’s Block B in Lambeth delivered a complex, multi-user building with cutting-edge forensic labs a month early, saving the client £1.5m in the process.”
“The Contractor has taken great care to achieve a high finish in every aspect of the design. The diligent approach to these works has been exemplary. Disturbance has been kept to a minimum and communications with both client and users has been of the highest order.”
“Forensic staff who have moved in are delighted with the new facilities, which are helping tackle crime and make London safer.”