Essex and Herts Air Ambulance gets keys to new airbase

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Mark Hart of Barnes Construction hands over the new base virtually to EHAAT CEO Jane Gurney and her team (Photo: Warren Page)

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Barnes Construction has handed over on time, a brand-new purpose-built airbase to Essex & Herts Air Ambulance (EHAAT).

Project managed by quantity surveyors Castons and designed by architects Hurley Porte and Duell and structural engineer specialists Superstructures, construction started on the new airbase at the North Weald Airfield in February 2020.

In a socially distanced handover, carried out via a video link, EHAAT CEO Jane Gurney and Cliff Gale, EHAAT’s Operations Director took possession of the building from Mark Hart, Joint MD of Barnes Construction.

Jane Gurney said: “The handover of this building today marks another milestone in this important project for the Charity.  I would like to thank Barnes Construction, associated partners and suppliers for all their hard work and support in seeing this project through to completion in such a professional manner especially with the added pressures the pandemic presented.

“I would also like to thank our amazing fundraisers and donors for helping us secure the future operation of the charity at North Weald for many years to come.”

Mark Hart said: “We are proud to have played a key part in the construction of this new airbase, which is a true community-based project that will help everyone. The project has been a collaborative team effort and I’m very grateful to Castons, Superstructures and Hurley Porte and Duell in particular, for helping us to get the scheme delivered on time, and under the most extreme and challenging circumstances due to COVID-19”.

In addition to housing one of EHAAT’s two helicopters and two of its rapid response vehicles, the new building has areas for training, mentoring, patient liaison and fundraising. There is space for cross training with other emergency services, which will benefit both EHAAT and the local pre-hospital care community. Part of the new airbase will be a dedicated interactive visitor centre which will allow the charity to welcome and engage with the local community.

The building has been designed with `green’ issues very much to the fore and includes charging points for electric cars and photovoltaic panels on the roof which will generate electricity.

Work has now begun on the internal fit-out phase, and it is scheduled to become operational by June of this year.