Works: Car park markings and way finding
Painting by numbers just took on a mind boggling new meaning for Hi-Way Services Limited with a contract to paint navigation signs at Bluewater, Europe’s leading retail, leisure and events destination. The aim of the contract is to help its 28 million annual visitors to find the way back to their cars left in Bluewater’s 13,000 free parking spaces, in 18 different sites.
The statistics for the job are eye-watering. Contracts assistant for Hi-Way Danny O’Reilly reeled off some of the numbers involved:
“Our brief is to repaint 11,379 square metres of walkway in anti-slip surface. This will involve painting 1,675 letters, using the words ‘shops’, ‘Marks & Spencer’, ‘John Lewis’ etc. We will also create 260 directional arrows and estimate we will use 12,000 litres of paint for the whole job.”
The marathon paint job, called the Wayfinding Project, will be done at night and take teams of three an estimated 12 weeks to complete.
Bluewater has enlisted the help of design consultants Lacock Gullam to update its sign system and colour scheme in the centre’s multi-storey car parks.
Architect Sam Gullam explained: “With the number of annual guest visits continuing to increase, (over 28 million per year) and with the development of the new events venue Glow, Bluewater decided it was time to undertake a major overhaul of its wayfinding information.
“Lacock Gullam, which specialises in wayfinding, information and product design, has been assisting Bluewater in developing intuitive ways of guiding guests, both as drivers, and when navigating their way around the malls.
This includes directing guests to appropriate car parks, helping them to find the mall entrances via safe paths and, perhaps more importantly, helping them to remember where they parked, so that they can find their way back to one of the 13,000 free spaces within the 18 different car parking areas.”
Sam added: “People lose their cars on a surprisingly frequent basis, often thinking they have been stolen – when in fact they are just looking in the wrong car park. In the multi-storey car parks especially, it can be a challenge to see both the entrances to the mall and establish where you parked when you return. Parking in an empty car park and returning when it’s full can be very confusing.”
Tim Hollands, assistant general manager at Bluewater, added: “Hi-Way Services was selected to undertake the work at Bluewater for three key reasons. First, and most importantly, the company is committed to safety. From the outset, Hi-Way Services embraced our global minimum requirements, which are the Lend Lease safety standards that go over and above statutory health and safety guidance.
“Second, our previous experience of Hi-Way Services is that it completes work to a very high standard and is flexible in its approach and planning. This is particularly important, as our objective is to minimise disruption to the guest experience, which means working outside of trading hours. Hi-Way Services has gone even further, however, with its commitment to ensuring that areas are ready for guests at the beginning of core trading hours the next day.
“Finally, Hi-Way Services’ pricing was competitive, and it added value to the design process and methodology.”
The Wayfinding Project will introduce a colour-coding system for car parks, with appropriately painted pathways guiding the way back.
Sam said the aim was to make the visitors’ experience pleasant and stress-free, allowing them the maximum time to enjoy shopping, while not worrying about getting back to the car safely.