Semi-permanent solution follows service station blaze

14 September 2010

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Semi-permanent structure specialist De Boer has been praised after its rapid response to a motorway service station blaze helped ensure business as usual for motorists – and secure the jobs of workers.

Shopping plaza
The fire at Cherwell Valley Services on the M40 in Oxfordshire completely destroyed the main shopping and dining plaza, leaving owners, staff and visitors with the prospect of no permanent facilities until next year.

Emergency rest area
But De Boer was on site within hours of the incident, enabling an emergency rest area to be opened within a week, followed by the creation of a more extensive temporary service station which will now remain in place until a permanent building can be completed in early 2011.

Two-stage response
De Boer’s two-stage response has been warmly welcomed by Moto Hospitality Ltd, the owner and operator of the property – one of the busiest service stations on the UK’s motorway network.

Professionalism and knowledge
Justin Shell, Moto’s Area General Manager, said: “We’ve been very impressed by De Boer. On phase one, the speed of reaction was tremendous. The replacement was being created just two days after the fire. On phase two I felt De Boer’s professionalism and knowledge – in advising on how things should operate and the things that needed to happen – were second to none.”

Replacement facilities
Mr Shell highlighted the importance of acting quickly to allow the location’s various retailers to move quickly into replacement facilities. These businesses included national and international chains such as WH Smith, Marks & Spencer, Burger King and Costa Coffee.

Business continuity plan
The blaze, which was tackled by about 120 firefighters, was caused by an electrical fault within an air-conditioning unit of the service station’s central plaza. The entire building was destroyed, prompting Moto to put its pre-prepared business continuity plans into effect.

A-frame structure
Working closely with specialist portable kitchens supplier PKL Group, De Boer attended its first meeting with Moto just one day after the fire. Work got under way within 24 hours of those discussions, with De Boer taking just five further days to erect its short-term facility – a 200-square-metre A-frame structure – complete with power and internal fit-out.

Temporary building
The temporary building, created on the western end of the on-site car park, allowed two retailers – Costa Coffee and EDC (Eat & Drink Company) – to recommence operations with seating for 100 people. An adjoining covered seating area was added soon after by De Boer to provide space for an additional 60 people.

Additional floorspace
De Boer then began work on a more permanent solution – erecting one of its Delta Vista structures, which has provided Moto with more than 2,000 square metres of floorspace on the south-east corner of the car park. The assignment has involved one of the first appearances in the UK of the Delta Vista, which was only unveiled to the international market earlier this year.

Visitors' rest area
Now fully operational, the functional and striking glass-sided structure has offered a rest area for visitors, with facilities that include Marks & Spencer, WH Smith and Burger King as well as Costa Coffee and EDC.

Delta Vista
The Delta Vista, which had to be built on a scaffolding base because of the sloping terrain, has been fitted with a number of innovative features including specially insulated roof and automated entrance doors. De Boer has also handled add-on services such as power, lighting and specialist temperature control and ventilation equipment.

Dedicated client
Mical de Boer, De Boer’s Business Continuity Director, said: “It was and is a pleasure to work with a dedicated client and a variety of stakeholders all with the same aim. The shared focus on how we would get the business back as soon as possible created a very positive buzz within the project team”.

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