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Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust Headquarters


Originally appointed in 2016, Lawray was instructed to consider alternative sites for relocation of the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust (WAST) headquarters. The existing facility was inefficient and beyond financially viable repair, no longer meeting the demands of a modern health trust.

The Brief

Lawray was appointed to carry out option appraisals on a number of alternative sites. The original long-list of alternative premises was evaluated against key criteria and a short-list agreed. For each of the selected sites more detailed assessments were carried out, challenging spatial requirements internally and staff parking requirements externally. Location was also a key element of the process with close connections required to the main A55 North Wales Expressway.

Working with WAST’s estates team, the former Welsh Government offices on St Asaph Business Park were eventually identified as offering the most suitable premises.

Our Solution

Continuing to work closely with WAST’s project team a detailed brief was developed, including a Schedule of Accommodation and Adjacencies Diagram with a resulting scheme for extensive refurbishment and remodelling created.

A conscious decision was taken to embrace open plan working with moves to create barriers resisted.

With over one hundred permanent staff moving from cellular offices to an open plan environment it was important to create lines of separation without introducing solid barriers or partitions. Naturally-finished timber dividers, introducing the warmth of natural wood into the office, also incorporated cable drops for power and data. Included at the end of groups of desks and used with below desk cable trays these serve to break up the space whilst also achieving cable management.

The open plan nature of the office area is still achieved whilst avoiding the call centre type environment many of the staff were fearing. A number of break-out, formal meeting rooms have been created together with a similar number of more informal Privacy Rooms, allowing smaller groups to get together, whilst also allowing staff the opportunity for privacy, away from the open plan office environment.

A two-storey atrium supplies natural daylight to the centre of the building and has also been developed as an informal break out/meeting area with picnic bench seating, feature planting and astro-turf flooring.

WAST was also keen to embrace the principles of The Well Building Standards, including;

  • Air Quality
  • Drinking Water Promotion
  • Nutritional Information
  • Food Storage
  • Fitness, including a Wellness Activity Space
  • Health & Wellness Library
  • Biophilia
  • Sleep Support/Non work related break out areas

In addition to Office spaces the building also provides WAST with flexible Meeting and Conference accommodation and a central facility for Development and Training.

The completed facility is to achieve a BREEAM ‘Very Good’ rating.

WAST is now in occupation of the majority of the building with staff embracing the new, more open approach to working.

Lawray Architects are an affable bunch of people, easy to work with yet still very professional. That’s especially useful for clients who aren’t used to the everyday business of design, contractors and tenders. They approach the job and client as you would like to think you would do yourself with anyone working in unfamiliar territory.

Daniel Shaw

Torch Theatre General Manager