Global Edition

Behind the scenes at Muirfield

12.30am 16th July 2002 - Corporate

Quality temporary accommodation for approximately 200,000 visitors, players, officials and sundry other staff at The Open Championship this week will be provided by Portakabin.

High quality floor space amounting to 3,000 square metres will also provide contractor offices, meeting rooms and VIP areas and will include carpets, furniture and air conditioning as standard to ensure that the buildings are as comfortable as possible.

Planning for this week’s Championship started even before last year’s Open at Royal Lytham had finished. In November the meeting included a review of last year, what was good and the areas where improvements could be made. Also at this meeting came the first indications of the amount of accommodation and toilet facilities that will be required for the Muirfield Open.

At this and subsequent planning meetings there are at least six Portakabin staff: the project supervisor, the Portaloo foreman, the PK products foreman, the transport co-ordinator, the hire co-ordinator and the furniture co-ordinator. As the project builds more personnel are pulled in as needed. Through the following months more planning meetings and site visits are required.

The Pacemakers from Portakabin start to arrive on site in early May. This is when the contractor accommodation goes on site. In June the event toilet units start to be delivered. Each unit has been pre allocated to a designated area on the course and area is worked on and completed. These areas include the main tented village with the public catering, the on course public areas, hospitality areas and staff. The toilet units and Pacemaker buildings have been allocated from the hire centres stocks in Scotland. An event of this scale means that units also have to be brought from depots south of the border, in Leeds, Newcastle and Birmingham.

The units are transported by road with lorry-mounted cranes. Some of the buildings require police escorts. This year the largest building is a ‘Titan 484’ which is approximately 14.5 metres long. Altogether approximately 130 lorry loads of deliveries have to be co-ordinated and sited according to the layout plans agreed previously with the R&A.

With all the staff at the hire centres, sub contractor haulage and so on approximately 30 to 35 people will have been involved with the whole Portakabin operation this year. The peak was in early July for the main assault on the buildings. By 10th July arrangements for final hand over are being completed. By that time everything has to be just right for the officials to move into what will be their accommodation for the next ten days or so.

The first days of practice are like a practise for the contracting staff as well. Then the golf begins. The days are long and the nights are short. Then it’s all over. The pullout schedule begins and, by mid August, the site is clear. In November comes the first meeting with the client for the next Open Championship.

Earlier this month it was announced that Portakabin had been awarded a new three-year contract.

“Portakabin has previously been very successful in accommodating visitors and organisers during the Open Championship,” said Michael Wells, Championship assistant. “As a result we are more than happy to renew the contract for a further three years. Providing quality accommodation for a large volume of people is not an easy task. However, with the benefit of shower facilities, toilets, bedrooms and canteens the buildings will provide a comfortable and secure environment for all those attending.”

Jonathan Reid, manager of the Portaloo and Events Hire Division in Scotland is delighted. “We have always tried to ensure that Portakabin’s role in The Open contributed to the overall success of the event. We are delighted to have won the three-year contract and look forward to delivering quality buildings for the première event in the golfing world.”

Portakabin www.portakabin.com

In related news...