SPSA Dundee, Architect, Scottish Police Services Authority, Unicorn Property Group

Dundee Lab Project – SPSA : Forensic Science Laboratory

Forensic Science Laboratory, City Court, DundeeOne Development

17 Aug 2009

Scottish Police Services Authority Dundee


John Swinney to perform topping out ceremony at DundeeOne
Environmentally rated ‘Excellent’ building on the banks of the River Tay

A significant milestone will be performed today at the largest speculative development undertaken in Dundee for a generation.

The ‘topping out’ ceremony for DundeeOne will be performed by John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth in the Scottish Government, in front of representatives from the city council, the development team and from the Scottish Police Services Authority, which signed a 35 year lease for City Court, half of the 100,000 sq ft development.

John Swinney said: “There is no doubt that Dundee has a major role to play in helping to lead Scotland out of recession and in positioning our economy for recovery. This development will provide Dundee with high-quality, new office space and can help the city attract fresh investment while creating new jobs. I am delighted to be participating in today’s topping out ceremony and look forward to seeing the development take shape.”

DundeeOne is a flagship development by Unicorn Property Group, an ambitious, entrepreneurial company with a strong belief in the potential of the city of Dundee. Unicorn acquired a significant part of Dundee’s waterfront by the City Quay area and has successfully developed a new residential and commercial quarter of the city.

On the banks of the River Tay, DundeeOne is seen by the commercial property sector as part of a long overdue ‘renaissance’ for the Dundee office market, offering top quality, Grade ‘A’ space in a location that is part of one of Europe’s most ambitious redevelopment projects: the 30 year plan to reconnect the City to the waterfront.

Tim Allan, director of Unicorn Property Group, said: “Unicorn is delighted that the Cabinet Secretary has taken time out of his busy schedule to perform this ceremony. This is well deserved recognition for a first class team that is delivering a world class product, on time and on budget.

“River Court, DundeeOne is one of the best office opportunities in the country, offering the most spectacular aspects in the country and will provide a huge boost to the city, both in terms of the quality of its office stock and, when it is let, to the city’s economy.”

The Scottish Police Services Authority signed up to DundeeOne in November 2008 and will build a state-of-the-art Forensics Laboratory in City Court.

Tom Nelson, director of Forensic Services, Scottish Police Services Authority, said: “The development is a major milestone for SPSA, a major vote of confidence in the future direction of forensic services for Scotland, and a major asset to the city of Dundee.

“We have always been clear that we needed to replace the existing forensic facilities in Dundee if we were to continue to provide the vital forensic services to frontline police forces that are so important to the fight against crime.

“The new build at DundeeOne is progressing well and we have made a long-term commitment to it. We have been working closely with the developers and architects to ensure that the laboratory design and layout reflects that of a modern, functional space fit for scientific purposes.”

DundeeOne is the largest and most ambitious speculative development in Dundee for a generation. Designed by leading architects in a bold contemporary style, DundeeOne will offer offices with outstanding transport links, large floorspace and ‘Excellent’ green credentials in a city with a highly educated and experienced workforce. The development forms part of the Dundee Central Waterfront Division, which will reshape the city over the next 20 years in order to match the ambitions and aspirations of the people who live and work in the town.

Unicorn is marketing the office space through agents Graham + Sibbald and Montagu Evans and welcome pre-lettings and sales for the office space. The development will be available for occupation mid 2010.

Images by the Architects: CDA

News Release Oct 2008

Site Secured for Purpose-Built Forensic Science Laboratory

Scotland’s first new purpose-built forensic laboratory in almost 15 years is to be built on the banks of the River Tay.

Scottish Police Services Authority Dundee Scottish Police Services Authority Scottish Police Services Authority Dundee Scottish Police Services Authority Dundee

Plans to build a purpose built forensic science facility in Dundee were unveiled today as agreement was reached by the Scottish Government and the Scottish Police Services Authority (SPSA) to secure a site at the City Quay.

SPSA will be occupying the whole of City Court, the northern building of Unicorn Property Group’s DundeeOne development. City Court will be built over five floors, covering an area of over 50,000 square feet; one of the largest Grade A office developments in Dundee in a generation.

The £16.2 million development marks a major vote of confidence in the future of forensic services in Scotland and will create a bespoke working environment which will facilitate the deployment of new forensic techniques and advances in technology across the country.

Set for completion in early 2010, the new modern forensic facility will house the DNA Database, the biology and chemistry laboratories, and the fingerprint and scene examination units.

It will provide a number of clear benefits to the provision of Forensic Services including:

– Facilities for specialised analysis such as dedicated space for the examination of large exhibits and a blood pattern analysis laboratory.

– Controlled laboratory environments to reduce contamination;

– A more efficient workflow through the appropriate location of different working environments within the new building, leading to faster processing times.

– Streamlining of the administration and forensic analysis process by establishing a common IT and evidence tracking system.

– Flexible space that can be adapted to accommodate additional staff and specialised equipment as future needs and demands become clearer.

Interim SPSA Convener George Kay said:

“This is a very significant investment by SPSA and we are delighted to have secured what we believe to be the right site at the most efficient cost. The development will be a major milestone for SPSA, a major vote of confidence in the future direction of forensic services for Scotland, and a major asset to the city of Dundee. Above all, I hope that it will be a place that supports our highly-skilled forensic staff to make their best contribution to the fight against crime.”

Tom Nelson, Director of SPSA Forensic Services, explained some of the background to the issues driving the need for investment and change in forensic services:

“In the last two decades advances in science and technology, such as DNA analysis, has led to rapid and sustained growth in demand within criminal justice systems for forensic services. Meeting those demands is hard at the best of times – harder still when working from cramped, often-converted office space.

“This new facility will allow us to develop a building that will support more effective ways of working from the start – rather than forcing our staff and equipment to work around the constraints of an existing building.

“The reputation and place of forensic science within criminal justice is built on quality and trust. Forensic experts must have a working environment and appropriate storage facilities to ensure that there is no possibility of cross contamination of their work. After all, guilt and innocence for individuals may rest on those results.

“This new purpose-built facility will support that and represents another major step in the transformation of forensic services for the 21st century.”

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill added:

“This is good news for Scottish policing and the wider criminal justice system. SPSA’s decision to invest in a much needed new forensic laboratory at Dundee, together with the new laboratory which will form part of the Gartcosh Crime Campus near Glasgow, will transform the provision of forensic services across Scotland to the benefit of the police and indeed the wider criminal justice system.”

Commenting on the regeneration of the area, Tim Allan, Unicorn Property Group said:

“We are delighted to be working with SPSA on the development of this landmark DundeeOne building. Unicorn assembled a highly skilled design team who are uniquely qualified to do this special build. Given the fantastic location, the ease of access and the superb facilities, the move to City Court is set to be a huge enhancement for forensic services.

“City Quay is proving to be both a commercial and residential destination of choice and we are very encouraged by the employment which will be brought to Dundee, and City Quay in particular, with the DundeeOne development.”

Dundee Buildings

Established on 1 April 2007, SPSA provides criminal records, forensic services, specialist ICT, training – including the Scottish Police College, corporate services, and specialist officers and staff for the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA).

A new national ‘crime scene to court’ forensic service was established on the same date – the first of its kind in the UK – comprising the existing four forensic laboratories and four fingerprint bureaux, and scene examiners located within the eight Scottish police forces.

At present there are four forensic science laboratories based at Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow. The current Dundee facility is based at Tayside Police Headquarters and employs around 80 staff. It has been widely recognised for some time that investment is urgently needed in new, purpose built facilities.

Approval has also been given to the development of a new laboratory as part of the Scottish Crime Campus at Gartcosh to replace the existing Glasgow laboratory.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill asked SPSA to look again at the issues raised around the organisation’s proposed closure of the Aberdeen forensic laboratory, and to engage in a fresh consultation process with all interested parties, including staff. This consultation is currently ongoing.

The total cost of the development is £16.2 million. The shell of the building is being built by Unicorn Property Group and will be leased by SPSA Forensic Services for a period of 35 years. Contributions of £4.9 million are being made by the Scottish Police Services Authority to the developer towards the costs of fitting out the building to meet the SPSA’s specific operational requirements.

Unicorn Property Group was formed in 2005 to purchase and develop the City Quay area of the Central Waterfront in Dundee. Full planning permission for DundeeOne was granted in August 2007. Work has now begun on site, and the first building, City Court, will be completed for January 2009 to meet the pressing need for quality offices in and around Dundee City Centre.

Location: Dundee, Scotland

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