New era beckons

Alex Thompson, managing director, Clucas and John Hellowell, chairman Strand Group

Alex Thompson, managing director, Clucas and John Hellowell, chairman Strand Group

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A meticulously planned operation has begun as the Strand Group starts to move into its impressive new home.

The Group, now in its 26th year, is undertaking one of the biggest projects in the company’s history.

The business has taken possession of a new purpose built headquarters at Tromode Estate just outside of Douglas. Local builders JCK, of Ballasalla, who handled the project from start to finish, completed the building ahead of the agreed schedule.

Demolition of the old Clucas Laundry, part of which had been on the original site for more than 100 years, started in February and foundations for the new buildings were laid in March.

Comprising of five units each covering 3,000 square feet and with a mezzanine level office in the first unit, the building was handed over at the end of September.

Managing director of Clucas Plc, Alex Thomson, said: ‘This is an important development which reflects the progressive ambitions of both Strand Group and ourselves.

‘It has been a pleasure working with John Hellowell (chairman of Strand Group) and his colleagues on this project which provides an impressive gateway to the Tromode Estate, arguably the most attractive and high quality commercial business location in the island.’

The moving plan commenced almost immediately and a massive operation is now under way.

Two crews have been working shifts from 7am till 9pm since the beginning of October and more than 75 per cent of the move has now been completed.

Storall, Strand Group’s document management Company, was the first to start moving, in what is a meticulously planned programme.

A dedicated team is handli-ng the move so that day-to-day operations can continue with minimum disruption. Storall’s shredding plant was the first piece of equipment to be moved and that was successfully installed within days of the handover.

Work took place over a weekend so that secure document shredding could be back on line first thing the following Monday morning.

This was quickly followed by a move of operations and equipment for Clean A Way, Strand Group’s commercial refuse business. The Group’s water purification plant also had to be moved as this provides deionised water (made from tap water) that is used for window cleaning.

Strand Facilities Services’ warehouse, Storall’s scanning facility, and most recently the Group office have also moved, meaning that all administration is now being handled at the new premises.

more than 130 people in the team

Again much of the work has been carried out over weekends and there has been massive co-operation and help from members of the Strand Group team which numbers over 130 people.

There has been no shortage of volunteers to make sure the move has gone smoothly.

And some of the team who work in the cleaning and washroom services side of the business at Krypton are actually returning to the site of their old home.

They were originally based at Tromode at Clucas Laundry prior to the takeover of Krypton Cleaning Services by Strand Group in 2011.

The document management business has been the biggest logistical challenge with much of the planning being focused on the secure transfer of Storall’s clients’ archive boxes to the new purpose-built facility.

state-of-the-art

‘We’ve invested in a state-of-the-art system that is truly impressive and of a significant scale,’ said John Hellowell, chairman of Strand Group.

‘Our clients need to know that they have the best possible security as well as quick and efficient access to their documents whenever they need them.’

Strand Group is currently spread over several buildings three of which contain archives.

It will be several weeks before all clients’ archives have been securely transferred to the new premises.

Research started into sourcing the most efficient and up-to-date archiving system over 18 months ago.

The specialist equipment wasn’t available locally, or in the UK so the search for the right supplier was broadened.

Twelve months ago a specialist company in the Eastern Europe was commissioned.

The system has been precision engineered, with some parts being manufactured specifically for the Storall system.

Rail tracks have been inset into the concrete floors and this procedure took place several months ago when construction of the building was in its early stages.

In the document storage area there are currently five carriages each weighing one and a half tons and capable of carrying 90 tons.

The carriages operate on the rails and are used to move and retrieve archive boxes to and from the rows of racking.

Strand Group has factored in ‘room to grow’ in the new HQ and additional floor space is available for future expansion. The floor has been laid so that new rail tracks can be added as soon as they are required.

Special steps have also been taken with the overall integrity of the building, with particular consideration given to extra safety and security measures.

The building’s foundations were raised by a metre and building standards far exceed statutory requirements in areas such as fire and flooding.

There is restricted access to many parts of the facility and both internal and external CCTV cameras are in operation.

A sophisticated intruder and fire alarm system has also been installed.

goal

‘Like many people moving house this time of year our goal was to be ‘in by Christmas’, and we are on target to achieve that,’ said Mr Hellowell.

‘The year 2014 has been a very significant year for us, and this move is a major landmark in our Company’s history.

‘Bringing everything together under one roof is going to improve efficiencies and we believe we can offer a world-class service to all of our clients including the many international companies that are based here.

‘The combination of our new facilities with our experience and local knowledge is a formidable package.’

The official opening of the new Strand Group HQ is planned for the new year.

The building is to be named Sailmaker House – a nod to the history of the original site.

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