STAFF members are getting ready to move into the new building for the UK Hydrographic Office.

The Taunton-based office will be handed over from the construction teams tomorrow (January 10), who have been working at the site since May 2017.

The environmentally-friendly building replaces the existing headquarters on its site in Admiralty Way and will house its 850 staff, enabling the UKHO to sustain a long-term future.

The UKHO partnered with AHR Architects, BAM Construction and Mace Group to deliver the redevelopment of the 32-acre site.

The construction involved up to 200 workers and a total of 700,000-man hours to complete the build, with more than 30 students from Bridgwater and Taunton College undertaking work placements on the project.

UKHO project manager, Jo Funnell, said: “I am delighted with the success of the project and the standard of the office building.

"The collaboration between all parties has been the key to the project’s success delivering a quality building to time and within budget.

"The new environment will support smarter ways of working at the UKHO, using new technology and modern office practices, which is hugely exciting for our business. The design and quality of the building is something we can all be very proud of having delivered in Taunton.”

Chief executive John Humphrey said: “From tomorrow we can move into our new headquarters here in Taunton which secures our base here for many years to come.

“The building represents real change for UKHO staff; a more collaborative working environment, modern IT infrastructure and a data-centric ethos that will enable UKHO to unlock a deeper understanding of the world’s oceans now and in the future.”

Somerset County Gazette:

Mr Humphrey is set to leave the UKHO at the end of January to take up a new post in the broader public sector and is replaced by deputy chief executive and national hydrographer Tim Lowe.

Chairman Adam Singer said: “My personal thanks to John, who has led the transformation of the UKHO from a paper chart production business into the digital solutions provider it is today.

"The new UKHO building marks the change from a brick archipelago to an ocean of modern space. It reflects the UKHO’s long history of development from lead and line to the new digital spatial world and the opportunities the marine environment provides.”

Further work will begin on the site at Admiralty Way as the remaining buildings are decommissioned and demolished, creating surplus land at the front of the site which will be sold for redevelopment.

An official opening ceremony for the new building is planned for later in the year.