Ambulance HQ

Ambulance Station

Laidlaw Balustrades Case Study – The Equality Act 2010 (formerly The DDA) Refurbishment


Project: Headquarters Ambulance Station, Hellesdon, Suffolk
Client: East Anglian Ambulance NHS Trust
Contractor: T Gill & Son

The use of Laidlaw Balustrades systems

The entrance balustrades showing 2-point side fixing

Hellesdon is the headquarters of the East Anglian Ambulance NHS Trust, which covers the counties of Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. Since the Trust is defined as a ‘service provider’ under Part lll of The Equality Act 2010 (formerly The DDA), it is their duty to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that disabled members of the public are not discriminated against because of their disability.

Once we had given them the order, Laidlaw Balustrades were able to gear their delivery to our very tight work programme, due to the fact that their system is made up of stock components. Then, when they came to fit the balustrades, we could see for ourselves the advantages. For example, they were able to install it much faster than usual because large sections were put together in their factory.

Nick Gale, Contracts Manager

In this case, the Trust decided that they needed to install a ramped access, in addition to the steps already provided and, because the ramp needed to be more than 2m long, they followed the recommendations in BS 8300 that there should be handrails on both sides. Also, even though there is no requirement for guarding under Part K of the Building Regulations, the Trust wanted to provide protection so that wheelchair users could not inadvertently roll under the ramp’s handrails.

Laidlaw Balustrades’ Combi system, with nylon-sleeved steel balustrades top rails and stainless steel uprights, was selected for the refurbishment on the basis that the nylon gave a hand hold that was not cold to touch, yet the stainless steel was compatible with the design of the rest of the building. For the ramp access, a balustrades infill of stainless steel strained wire was selected to minimise the visual impact and a lower rail of stainless steel was used as a physical barrier to wheelchairs at ground level.

The guarding, which runs from the end of the ramp access to the entrance of the building is at a higher level and includes glass infill panels. These are etched with manifestation (the name and badge of the ambulance service) to make the presence of the barrier apparent to visually impaired people leaving the building.

Other Laidlaw Clients

  • Wates
  • BAM Construction
  • Austin Company plc
  • Pearce Retail
  • RG Group
  • Laing O’Rourke
  • Kier

The entrance balustrades showing 2-point side fixing