Kicking off the Travel Plan

Work has officially started on a very important aspect of our project – the University of St Andrews Travel Plan. We dedicated the whole of our latest forum to this topic and the PSR reps grabbed the opportunity to feed into the plan and pass on thoughts from their teams.

Kirsty Davison and Gordon Scott from the consultancy firm Peter Brett Associates (PBA) came along to give the reps a quick overview of who they are and what they are planning.

PBA, now part of Stantec, is a leading consultancy of engineers, planners, scientists and economists delivering major development and infrastructure projects. These specialists have plenty of experience working with universities and shared some examples of the types of projects they have worked on with the Universities of Glasgow, Edinburgh and the West of Scotland.

As a starting point, PBA defined the purpose of a travel plan, which is “a package of practical measures designed to influence transport to an individual site or within an organisation”.

For St Andrews in particular that will mean delivering a strategic transport and travel plan covering the years 2019 to 2025, reflecting the University’s planned growth and commitment to sustainability. The top priority is the Eden Campus travel plan, which is one of the first priorities in order to support our relocation to the new campus.

Kirsty and Gordon were also keen to give the reps an opportunity to feed into and influence the themes and issues covered in the Travel Plan. We split into groups and discussed the themes we should cover in the action plan and which themes are of greatest importance to staff. We also gave some thought to the barriers (both real and perceived) to Eden Campus travel and what the University needs to do to overcome these.

Finally, we discussed ‘mode share targets’ – the different modes of travel we choose when commuting – and how we can increase sustainable modes such as car share, public transport, biking and walking.   

So, what can you do to get involved? The best way to submit your views is through the Staff Travel Survey 2019 which will help us to understand more about current travel patterns and the underlying reasons for mode choice, and will help to shape the actions we develop. You can access the survey, which should only take five to ten minutes to complete, online now.

As ever, you can also email me at with any other feedback and queries.

Until next time!

Louise Soutar
PSR Project Officer


Move batted into new year

Building works for Walter Bower House have been ongoing since September 2018. Staff were expected to start occupying the new space in December this year, however, a few structural issues and the need to protect a nesting bat in the building mean that the completion date has now been updated to early 2020, probably February 2020.

The need to protect the nesting bat meant that exclusion zones were set up around parts of the site, which had an impact on timescales. More significantly, the site team uncovered some unforeseen issues with the existing building structures which will take extra time to be rectified.

The combination of these issues has led the contractor to report a delay to the programme and they have now updated the completion date to February 2020. The Project Team are working with the contractors to see if we can improve on this date, but the full position will become clear in the next six to eight weeks as we move towards making the structures wind and watertight.

Professional Services Relocation Project Officer Louise Soutar said: “We’re particularly mindful that the Library’s refurbishment project is dependent on moving collections to the WBH library store so we’re working closely together to ensure there’s no impact on these plans.

“So what does this mean for staff due to relocate to WBH? Essentially, the only real change is that everyone will now relocate in early 2020. The Project Team will take the delay into account when planning our move schedules and we’ll start to communicate how this will happen when plans are firmed up.”

Eco-friendly campus

Our latest topic of conversation at the PSR Forum was sustainability and creating an eco-friendly campus. The reps asked their teams for ideas of how we could be as green as possible. We then discussed these ideas at the Forum and a few important themes emerged.

Here are a few that came up in our discussions:

  • Making sure we have plenty of easy to use recycling facilities
  • Improving the cycle route between Guardbridge and St Andrews
  • Encouraging colleagues to bring their own food to work with adequate facilities for heating and storing home cooked food
  • Building on the edible garden project and creating outdoor seating
  • Encouraging car sharing and making the policies around this as clear as possible
  • Using the bus for business travel (keep an eye out for more information on this soon!)

Another interesting theme that emerged was the role that Smart Working can play in creating a sustainable workplace.

Grouping meetings together to minimise travel, the availability of communications software such as Skype for Business, reducing printing where possible and allowing working from home days can all help to minimise our impact.

In related news, the tender process for the travel plan is now complete and I can announce that Peter Brett Associates (PBA) have been appointed to take forward this important piece of work. Our contacts from PBA will join us at the next session of the PSR Forum to introduce themselves to the reps. If you have any questions or thoughts you’d like to add, please do pass them on to your unit rep(s).

Kind regards!

Louise Soutar
PSR Project Officer

Health, safety and wellbeing

Another month, another ‘healthy’ discussion at the PSR Forum. During this session, we covered the topic of health, safety and wellbeing at Walter Bower House, focusing on how to encourage a healthy working environment.

Our guest presenter this month was Hugh Graham, Head of Environmental Health and Safety Services, who gave a thought-provoking talk on the concept of reasonable adjustments in the workplace, the hierarchy of controls and the decisions the University has to make to balance cost versus risk.

We also used this session to brainstorm some priorities for health, safety and wellbeing. The reps were asked to gather ideas and priorities from the rest of their teams in advance of the meeting. We then split into groups and used this feedback to decide our top priorities.

So here are what we think are the top priorities for health, safety and wellbeing at WBH. I’ve ranked them in order of how important they were to the reps, noted what solutions are already on the cards for each priority, and also mentioned some new initiatives to explore and take forward – most of which come from you, the users of the building.

1 Making sure air quality and temperature are optimal

Solutions and initiatives already planned at WBH: WBH will be a modern workplace with full temperature and air quality management systems in place. Louise has asked for specs from the project management team and will share those with the Forum.

2 Making sure background noise levels are optimal (not too noisy and not too quiet) 

Solutions and initiatives already planned at WBH: Acoustic dampening has been taken into account in the building design and furniture choices. In the spirit of Smart Working, lots of quiet spaces are provided for those ‘focused work’ periods. Asking colleagues to consider their noise levels will also form a key part of the building protocols and culture.

New initiatives to take forward: Investigate further the idea of ambient noise.

3 Keep a clean environment in shared areas, workstations, kitchens

Daily cleaning regimens are currently being worked out by Estates. We have a very skilled and dedicated cleaning team who will make sure that our environment is clean.

Our building protocols will also mention keeping workspaces and shared spaces as clean and tidy as possible.

Initiative from reps: Provide hand sanitiser to stop the spread of germs. We could create ‘clean stations’ with cleaning supplies, hand sanitiser available for all to use.

4 Mitigate the stress of the move and the effects of a new environment/new people

CAPOD already offers some stress management and resilience training that anyone feeling extra stress or pressure can attend. Occupational Health and the Chaplain will also be happy to speak to anyone who needs their services.

We could also schedule some extra stress and/or resilience training and run drop-in sessions later on in the year.

Initiative from reps: Expand the ‘Shelfhelp’ initiative to cover Eden Campus.

Initiative from reps: Set up a drop-in for support services such as Occupational Health and the Chaplaincy at WBH.

5 Create a social committee and instigate activities at lunchtime (walks, reading groups etc)                    

Initiatives from reps: Ask for volunteers and create a social committee/WBH community group. Expand the Wee Walk once a Week (WWOW) initiative to cover Eden Campus – we can call it bow-wwow (…geddit?). Expand the ‘Shelfhelp’ initiative to cover Eden Campus. The University Wellbeing and Engagement Group/CAPOD would be able to provide some support for these initiatives

6 Supply ‘late starter’ car parking spaces for those with caring responsibilities

Initiative from reps: Louise will discuss this with the Security Manager and look to bring this into the travel plan work.

7 Create outdoor space for eating and recreation

Some landscaping and wildflower planting is planned for Eden Campus to create a pleasant environment. We can also bring in some outside tables for use in nice weather.

Initiative from reps: Expand the WeeWalk initiative to cover Eden Campus in order to make use of the outdoor space and countryside around us.

8 Finding a balance between individual occupational health items/needs and Smart Working

WBH will be a Smart Working environment but that definitely doesn’t mean there needs to be a conflict with occupational health. Louise will look for best practice from other offices.

9 Safety in the car park (lighting, security) plus safety crossing the road from the car park to the building.

The car park will be lit and there will be a toucan crossing installed on the A919 for safe crossing of the road.

10 Creating a secure environment, particularly if staff do not know everyone in the building

Security and access control is a high priority. Non-staff will not be able to access certain parts of the building.

New initiatives to take forward: Visitor access to the building will be via Proximity Pass. Passes will be issued by Reception and will provide time-limited access. We’re also looking at supplying staff and visitors with differently-coloured lanyards so that staff can see at a glance who’s who.

11 Make it clear how the building can be used – opening hours, access, where to eat lunch, how staff can use the contemplation room etc.

A WBH users guide will be written in the next few months. This will cover all areas of the building and the details you need.

12 Creating a designated smoking area located away from the front door of the building

A site for a designated smoking area will be discussed with the Eden Campus Project Board.

13 Communicate clearly about fire safety and keep up to date with the regulations

WBH will fully adhere to all fire safety regulations. Fire wardens/marshals will be identified before moving and regular fire drills will take place

New initiatives to take forward: We can look at creating some more engaging fire safety comms for WBH, maybe in video form.

14 Provide covered bike shelters and other services for bike users

Bike shelters, showers and lockers will all be available in WBH.

New initiatives to take forward: Louise will discuss this with the relevant staff and share the specs of the bike shelters when they are confirmed.

Initiative from reps: We’ll also request some hooks for within the shower cubicles.

15 Provide a defibrillator on site

Initiative from reps: Louise will get in touch with Operation Heart Start and get the ball rolling on providing this.

If this has inspired you to think up some more health, safety and wellbeing initiatives, why not share them with your rep? Let’s keep the conversation going on this important subject.

Until next time!

Louise Soutar
PSR Project Officer

Walter Bower House

Here’s a few of the latest pictures from the Walter Bower House site.

You can particularly see the progress that’s being made in laying the foundations for the entrance block and foyer area.

Scaffolding has also popped up around the existing buildings so lots more changes in the pipeline.

Posted by Louise Soutar, Project Officer (Professional Services Relocation)

22 March 2019

Working paper‘less’ and Smart

Now that the Smart Working policy has officially launched, we thought it would be a good idea to spend some time at our February forum finding out a bit more about the tools available to help us work smart and paper-light.

CAPOD’s Sonny Evans provided an overview of Office 365 and how it can support communication between teams and Smart Working. Sonny covered:

  •         How to share documents and files easily and securely with the rest of your team
  •         How to collaborate with your team while creating and working on documents
  •         Using OneNote as an alternative to paper notes and all the extra benefits this can bring
  •         Showing your availability and location throughout Office 365

The Forum took a closer look at the newest app available to us here at the University: Microsoft Teams. Lewis Watson of IT Services talked us through the benefits of using Teams as part of our daily workflow and presented some helpful case studies.

A new PSR Forum Team has been set up this week and all reps have been added. This should help us keep up-to-date with the project as it progresses and give us a space to discuss and share ideas. But don’t forget that Teams is available for all staff to use. Get training and support on the website and download the client now from the Software Centre.

Finally, the reps took part in a paper use quiz – a bit of lighthearted fun also intended to spark some thought over our paper use here at the University. As we discovered, the number of pages completed on UniPrint devices for all Schools and Units was 5,577,687.

Yes, that’s a massive five million five hundred seventy-seven thousand six hundred and eighty-seven pages…

Ask your rep if you want to take the paper use quiz yourself and see where you are in the ‘paper addict’ scale.

So, in order to build on what we learnt this month, the reps’ post-forum tasks will be:

  1. Keep a diary of your working patterns for a week. Using the template provided, write down: what you’re doing, where you did it and how long you did it for. Once you have filled in this information, identify something that could be changed to help you embed Smart Working in your daily life.
  2. Identify an aspect of your unit’s work that is currently paper heavy and could be done in a paperless or paper‘less’ way.

Let your rep know if you have any thoughts or ideas about these topics.  

That’s it for February. Keep an eye on In The Loop for some new construction pics soon.

See you in March!

Louise Soutar
Professional Services Relocation Project Officer

PSR Forums 2019

We have officially launched our Forums for 2019 – with new themes, new clinics, and a new name.

Monday 28 January was the first session in what will be a busy year, with plenty of PSR-related information, updates and discussion to come.

In front of an audience of both PSR reps and service directors, the Quaestor delivered a project status update. As well as reiterating the greater context of strategic growth for the University, he also reminded us of the essential role the reps play in the success of this project.

The Quaestor announced that the Eden Campus building will be named after Walter Bower. (Read more about the thinking behind the name in In the Loop issue 333.)

We took the opportunity to update and refresh the terms of reference for the reps, making sure that everyone knows what’s coming up during 2019. The reps not only represent their colleagues at the Forum, they also allow everyone to make their voice heard on a number of topics and themes that affect our new workplace.

There’s a lot of ground to cover over the next year or so, and these are some of the themes we plan to cover at the upcoming forums:

  • Working paper‘less’ and Smart
  • Health, safety and wellbeing
  • Environment and recycling
  • Building protocols and culture
  • Building resilience in times of change
  • Using the gym
  • Café and eating areas
  • Logistics of the move
  • Travel information
  • Introducing the building management teams

If you have questions, suggestions or thoughts on any of these topics, please do contact your unit rep(s) and let them know what you think. They can ask questions on your behalf or update you with the information they have learnt at the Forums.

But that’s not all. We’re also starting something new for 2019 – the PSR open clinics. These clinics are informal drop-in sessions open to all and are an opportunity to meet members of the project team and chat about any aspects of PSR you want to know more about. The schedule is on the website, please do come along if you have a question that you think isn’t answered on the FAQ page or by discussion with your rep.

So that’s it for now. I’m planning to write a blog post after every forum to keep you updated and will be adding lots of other PSR-related content to the website throughout the year, so keep checking In the Loop for the latest updates.

Until next time!

Your PSR Project Officer

Construction update

Here’s a quick PSR construction update for you with a few new pictures fresh from the site.

As you can see from the images, the placing of the windows is now becoming clear. This should give you a good idea of how much glass and natural light we’ll have in the new building.

The next stage will involve making the building wind and watertight, so keep checking back to see the latest updates and images.

Louise Soutar
Project Officer (Professional Services Relocation)