Work-in-progress: The Corporation of Hamilton Works Depot was well on its way to completion in this photo from June 10, 2010. *Photo by B. Candace Ray
Work-in-progress: The Corporation of Hamilton Works Depot was well on its way to completion in this photo from June 10, 2010. *Photo by B. Candace Ray
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The Corporation of Hamilton’s new Works Depot is celebrated here with a walk-through of the four floors that will house all of the Corporation’s departments under one roof.

 

Corporation of Hamilton management and staff have an elegant new Works Depot on Laffan Street.

The crimson and grey building, which was nearing occupancy when the Bermuda Sun visited in early March, sports walls of blue-tinted windows about much of its L-shaped exterior.

An abundance of existing light streamed in through those windows making offices, cubicles and other work areas bright and welcoming. The new smell of it permeated the rooms.

“This is just very typical construction,” city engineer Patrick Cooper said. “There is nothing, I would say, avant-garde. It’s built to a very good standard with double-glazing … we tried to keep it open and light.”

But this handsome 20,000 sq ft-construction would not have been realized had the Corporation to begin it now.

As Mr Cooper explained: “If you don’t have money, you can’t spend it. Realistically, we started this just before the recession took hold, and we were in a much better position then.”

The just under $11 million Works Depot is within budget, but three months behind contractually, according to Mr Cooper.

“It will probably end up being two months,” he said, “because they have a delay that hasn’t been assessed yet.”

The four-storey depot is situated to the north of its 38,000 square foot lot. A small blue ancillary building southwest of the main structure stores road-marking equipment.

A second, paint storage shed on another part of the yard is yet to be built; this will limit exposure to risk from flammable materials.

Risk limitation falls within the responsibilities of the City Engineer whose job it is to oversee maintenance of the city’s infrastructure and public health and safety. This, of course, includes staff working conditions.

“Really, it’s those two things that drive everything,” Mr. Cooper said. “Everything else derives out of those two pillars.”

The fourth floor will be home to engineering and industrial staff managers. The city engineer, assistant city engineer and general superintendant will occupy the three offices, while superintendants and an administrative assistant will move into four of the six cubicles. A boardroom completes this section of level four.

Around the corner, the floor and window layout of the Human Resource area resembles a hospitality suite. Here, movable tables and chairs will be installed so that 30- to 40-person departments can meet comfortably for training purposes.

Two spare cubicles could be used by summer students or by staff during their breaks for Intranet/Internet access, according to Mr. Cooper.

A management kitchen caters to 14.

“We’ve got all the lights on motion sensors,” Mr Cooper said.

In fact, throughout the walk-through, artificial lights were readily demonstrated in interior bathrooms, locker rooms, mechanical rooms and electrical rooms.

The third floor, according to Mr Cooper, will be home to most of the industrial staff. A large kitchen, here, will cater to 100 people, including four women. And all staff can take advantage of an approximately 30- by 30-foot recreation room/gym, which Mr Cooper expects might be fitted out with free weights, a fixed workout station, treadmill and bike.

The Ports Manager’s office is on this level.

“We’re moving out of No. 6 Shed… and we’re going to be renting out that space,” Mr Cooper said. “We’re trying to get all our departments together in the same building.”

Consultants that come in on a temporary basis will use a spare office on this floor.

Three staircases — main, staff access and outside fire well — and separate elevators for people and freight make ingress/egress easy and safe.

Staff access features a hardwearing and durable red vinyl floor that suggests a sound cushion and safety factor for this industrial level.

Three equipment rooms feature on each floor, with a spare on three. “You don’t want to build 100 per cent right out of the door. You want to leave yourself some room for future needs,” Mr Cooper said.

Here, too, is a small meeting room, ladies and men’s locker rooms and a janitor’s closet with a slop sink for cleaning mops. The locker rooms are spacious, with handsome blue individual lockers in rustproof plastic lining the walls. An electronics area on the second floor is set aside for sign manufacturing, pay and display machines and the servicing and maintenance of traffic lights. A loading bay door on the south opens out of a 40- by 120-foot inventories and consumables stores section, while an area to the north houses a storeman with his sign-out counter. A large section of level two is walled off, allowing two ground floor workshops — the spray paint booth and mechanics shop — to rise to second floor ceiling height. This ensures room for a filtered wall on the east, fans and fume exhaust. “There are all explosion proof fixtures in (the booth) because when you spray there’s a high concentration of vapour gases which could explode if there’s an ignition source,” Mr Cooper explained.

The huge space afforded the mechanics shop permits garbage trucks to be jacked up for repairs.

The ground floor also houses the main electrical supply room, storerooms and workrooms, including the carpentry shop.

“The depot is the whole property where we keep our machinery, equipment and materials. It’s the hub of the operation,” Mr Cooper said.

He noted that this includes the collection of garbage and recyclables, mechanical and manual street sweeping equipment and the 30 to 40 corporation vehicles that will park under Bull’s Head by way of a specially built ramp.

Concrete curbs and slates will still be made outdoors in the old section of the works yard, but it can be fenced off from the newer area.

“Most of the work that goes on here is in the workshops under cover,” Mr Cooper said.

Besides its fuel station, the new depot also has a heated pressure washer for cleaning all the vehicles. The garbage truck gets washed daily, according to Mr. Cooper.

The building cannot be added on to vertically and is unlikely to be extended laterally, according to Mr. Cooper, who said: “But anything is possible.”