CRASH Patron and North West Cambridge Development contractor, BAM Construction has taken collaboration to a new level garnering support from fellow contractors to help a local homelessness charity with urgent repairs to their building.

Wanting to use their skills and resources to support the wider community, BAM brought together a group of companies to help Cambridge based charity Wintercomfort for the Homeless.   The group wanted to help the charity address some immediate concerns in their building (Phase 1) and assess the feasibility of extending their building in the future.

Led by BAM’s project manager, Shaun Harris, and fellow Patron Imtech undertook a power usage / electrical load assessment and a gas inspection to inform both stages.   They were joined onsite by a professional team drawn from Wates, Farrans, Gardiner & Theobald, Keystone Group and Axiom Group who helped with materials and inspections for immediate repairs, as well as establishing possibilities for future building developments. 

Keystone Group provided new roof lights for the existing extension, and Axiom Group provided vinyl to replace flooring on the ground floor and basement level. 

Gardiner and Theobald produced cost plans for the future extension – and along with Gratte Bros – provided the commercial kitchen design should the plans to extend the building and improve Wintercomfort’s kitchen facilities be realised.

Wates provided pre-construction programming assistance for the future extension feasibility.  Farrans assisted with site inspections of the roofing works to the existing extension.

Shaun Harris from BAM said: “I’ve seen Wintercomfort at work and it feels very satisfying and motivating for us to divert some time and energy away to help a worthwhile cause.”

With over 20 years’ experience supporting homeless and vulnerably housed people, Wintercomfort for the Homeless’ building ‘Overstream House’ required urgent attention to enable the charity to continue to deliver services in a safe and comfortable environment.  

CRASH Chief Executive Francesca Roberts said: “As the industry charity, CRASH encourages companies to get directly involved in helping homelessness projects like Wintercomfort that ask us for assistance. This project is a perfect example of what the construction industry can do and shows it at its very best.”

They have undertaken a number of essential works on a ‘make do and mend’ basis over the lifetime of the building in order to keep the centre running,  However, they needed to address urgent repairs and plan modifications to make this building fit for the future. 

Thanks to the support of BAM and these other organisations, Phase 1 of their plans is now complete.

From its base at Overstream House, Wintercomfort for the Homeless helps, on average, 65 people a day through its drop in service providing:  

•          Hot food, showers and laundry facilities

•          Opportunities to access health services, legal advice and housing support

•          Access to IT, and a range of educational and recreational activities

•          A safe place where people can feel welcome and valued

The charity also provides meaningful employment and volunteering opportunities through two social enterprises, Food4Food and Overstream Clean also run from Overstream House.

Gavin Heaphy, Construction Director of the North West Cambridge Development said: “The spirit of collaboration on our project amongst our contractors and consultants is something that we are proud of, and it is fantastic to see our team volunteering their time and skills for this worthwhile project. Donations in kind worth £10,000 were invested in this community project in addition to the time of the professional volunteers. We are more than aware that housing is a major problem in the City and we are delighted to have assisted the CRASH charity with these works.”


Images: Overstream House whilst works were undertaken; Shaun Harris, Project Manager with Chris Hewitt, Senior Project Manager for BAM; Stuart Clarke, BAM;  roof works as part of the immediate works.