In 2009 we were approached by the architect and project manager working for Emmaus Hastings and Rother, a homeless charity that provides work and living space for people who have experienced homelessness, or companions as they are known by the Charity.
We were instructed to manufacture a 23 bedroom, en-suite modular accommodation block which would incorporate management accommodation, a communal living room, laundry room, common areas and kitchen facilities. The facility also included a bedroom and en-suite facilities which can be used by any companions living with disability.
The 16 module building, which is configured over two floors, has been manufactured, delivered and installed in three phases to enable the Charity to raise funds at each stage. The final phase will be installed in March 2014.
Commenting on the project and how they came to appoint Danzer Ltd architect Bob Bogie said: “Mike Edwards, the project manager for Emmaus, and I spoke to a number of manufacturers and we were really impressed by Danzer’s ability to find solutions to problems, its fast turnaround and the affordability for the product. They certainly offered the best technical solutions and, although they had little track record in producing accommodation blocks, we knew they could build great modular school buildings so we appointed them fairly swiftly.
“The build and installation has gone pretty much according to plan, despite a short hold up when we had really bad weather and they struggled to get anything on or off the site at Langley Mill. However, the schedule was back on track quickly and the building has been delivered and installed with very few complications at all. We have a strict Building Control Officer here in Hastings and the Danzer team has worked really closely with him to ensure no delays. It’s been a learning curve for all but I’ve been very impressed with Danzer’s approach and guidance and we are all really happy with the end result.”
Mike Edwards of Emmaus said: “Bob and I had searched a number of modular building suppliers to build the units we needed but without success. Danzer however, treated the project as a challenge to be met and they listened and complied very carefully with the exacting specification we set. The quality of the finished product is excellent and we have had virtually no maintenance issues at all, and the original modules still look as good today as compared to when they were handed over in 2009. That is a good measure of the quality which, together with performance and price, is so important in the world today.”
In December, we were delighted to learn that the accommodation block would be officially opened by, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall. On the 5th December the Duchess visited the Centre and unveiled a plaque to declare Charlie Jordan House, officially open. Click here to see a video of the Royal visit. The name honours the first Chairman of Emmaus Hastings and Rother, who died shortly after the group took ownership of the community site in 2009.
The Duchess, who has been patron of Emmaus UK since 2006, was given a guided tour of the community by Mary Rigg, who came to Emmaus after a relationship broke down and she found herself homeless.
Danzer Ltd Director Dan Holloway, who attended the opening ceremony added: “It was great to see the project come together after almost four years in development. It’s been a really interesting build because of the unusually high level of facilities included such as showers, toilets, washbasins and a lot of electrical work so we’ve had to work very closely with the architects and the charity to ensure the buildings were designed to accommodate all of the mechanical and engineering work necessary. Although it’s a fairly basic looking building it has been designed to include some interesting features such as the Breeze Soleil system above the windows which works to prevent heat gain into the rooms.”
Emmaus Hastings and Rother provides a home and meaningful work for 15 people who have experienced homelessness. The companions live on site in the purpose-built accommodation and they work in the charity’s social enterprise, a shop selling second-hand furniture and other donated items, and a recently opened café.