When Grosvenor Oil Services Ltd required a work station / combination welfare pod complete with sleeping facilities we knew that a bespoke journey was beginning.
Forward thinking managers at Grosvenor appreciated that the specification needed to be end user led and therefore consultation with the staff would be a key factor in the success of the unit.
The pod needed to be removable from its location inside a 26 tonne curtain sided host vehicle and also include the following features:
* 2m x 800mm Bed
* Work Station
* Home from Home Kitchen with TV and Dining Table as well as Fridge/Freezer, Heating, Cooker, Microwave, Kettle and Toaster
* Wetroom with Shower and Changing Facilities
* Clothes Store
All of the above needed to be achieved within the 4.1m footprint allowable inside the host vehicle.
Access steps coupled with emergency exit steps that were easily stored on the unit were also considered an essential feature.
To complicate matters a little further Kabco were then informed that all the above appliances needed to be powered by a relatively small supply of just 6kva. Load would be over twice the supply so the electrical installation and appliances needed carful consideration
The Shower and hot water system was going to be a challenge “saying yes is easy having the right solution is a different story ”
The journey was going to be interesting…
Technical Director Simon Elston met immediately with staff on the ground who would be using the new pod – taking into account their personal requirements whilst holding the company brief in the forefront, he says:
“meeting with the operational staff who would be calling the pod “home” was essential as Grosvenor Oil customers also have high standard of operator welfare and safety in windfarms and substations, getting a feel for what these staff wanted was where the design started but as with any consulation the specification changes and often evolves growing arms and and legs along the way. In this instance it became clear that storage of equipment including flanges, pipes, hoses etc were also needed, this took the design from a welfare pod to a vehicle conversion with lockers to house the above” After further investigation it was decided that almost three cubic metres of locker space was needed and the drawers needed to be big open space for vacuum hoses and the like
Design at base level is form and function but on high value contracts first appearances are also key and appropriate
The Kabco bespoke team were soon at work building the outer pod and preparing the vehicle to receive it – taking accurate measurements when the vehicle was available meant that Grosvenor could continue to work the 26 tonne curtain sider whilst awaiting build of the welfare pod.
Workshop Manager David Ezzatvar says “obviously making the pod with the vehicle on site would be much easier but we all appreciated that the customer could not have his vehicle out of the fleet for extended periods of time”
All along the build grosvenor staff commented on the build
An additional window was fitted at their request whilst in the background kabco went to work on building and testing a shower ( based on 3 kW ) for grosvenor approval
Not a caravan size shower but 1200 X 800 basin operated by push button percussion type tap
Feeling refreshed after a day at work was also an essential part of the brief
Some times the vehicle could be away for a week so it wasn’t a luxury supply and waste water tanks were going to be vehicle mounted
In front of the welfare pod was going to be the plant cw kerosene burner vacuum pumps and a host of plumbing to handle the transformer oil
Vibration and noise were also a concern as one operator would sleep in the cab whilst the other slept in the welfare pod
At this point a 850 litre kerosene tank was also discussed and manufactured by kabco to provide fuel for the plant boiler
Ultimately Grosvenor Oil approached Kabco to transfer the plant from an existing vehicle and re-fit to the new vehicle considering vibration of the plant for the operators using the welfare pod. This further development of the project took Kabco down a new path away from standard welfare but thanks to a skilled workforce this proved to be well within their scope.
Simon says ” the staff enjoyed these challenges as it’s something different ”
As we moved through the programme within a month kabco developed a 3 kW shower /hot water system with priority switching which grosvenor approved
Battery powered LED lighting and charging was fitted , this fitted nicely with 12 volt water pumps phone chargers etc and even provides outside lighting on the plant and its surroundings without the need for generator / ac power at initial “set up”
The completed pod / vehicle combination is now in service and feedback to far has been very positive.
“So far the customer is happy but as with all bespoke jobs staying married to the product in the field will determine its ultimate success”
Staying married to it also helps us as you see the product operating and all that is part of job satisfaction for the whole business
Bespoke builds don’t need to be that expensive if you can think them through and plan
Obviously there not off the shelf but you get what you want sometimes a little innovation makes the job easier and win- win can be achieved