As the final part of our wider strategic estates programme, and following the opening of our operational hub in Birmingham in 2019, we have now completed the refit of our London office in Wimpole Street, which has included creating five hearing suites.
Our hearing suites now are all in-house, allowing us to move out of our rented space in Smithfield, which will result in savings of circa £1.47 million pa.
The refit at Wimpole Street was completed with a significant emphasis on ensuring value for money and thinking environmentally, avoiding waste wherever possible. Throughout the refit programme we looked to upcycle and reuse existing assets where feasible. This included:
- re-using surplus furniture from a fellow regulator to furnish all five of our hearing suites, which we obtained free of charge, creating savings of around £80k
- re-using existing furniture and fittings that were there before the refit, including doors, glazed panels, tables and chairs
- re-using existing furniture and TV screen to fit out our relocated Boardroom
- re-using some of the surplus furniture and IT equipment to support the fit-out of 32 extra desks in our Birmingham office
To ensure we were delivering value for money following the previous refit in 2014-15, we also conducted an asset impairment exercise which identified only circa £44k of the original work being disposed of, which represents less than 0.5% of the original cost of the previous refit.
This brings to a close our two-year estates programme that will result in circa £50 million net savings over 15 years as planned and has been a key contributor and factor to the reduced Annual Retention Fee levels.