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Converting a Grade II-listed building into a new police HQ on a constrained city centre site



HIGHLIGHTS

  • Grade II-listed refurbishment of former warehouse
  • Constrained city centre construction site
  • Close proximity to live railway
  • Refurbishment of occupied premises
  • BREEAM Excellent
  • Value engineering saved client £2 million

A scheme of this size and complexity would have been extremely onerous and time-consuming for us, were it not for Willmott Dixon and project manager David Dixon in particular. He kept us informed of all the issues, and we never felt that there was a problem; he always came to us with solutions. Sandra Punton, Development Manager, Property & Design, Gateshead Council

This complex construction project involved conversion of a Grade II-listed building, refurbishment of an occupied office, and construction of a new-build office linking two existing buildings – while working on a constrained city centre site just one metre from a live railway, the East Coast Main Line (ECML).

The new headquarters for Northumbria Police Authority includes a three-storey operations centre, six-storey office, 50-cell custody suite, car parking, and an energy centre. It will be the base for over 600 officers and police staff.

Design

The contract was procured under the Scape national framework. Willmott Dixon was tasked in 2009 with finding a suitable site for a new headquarters for the police authority, and then developing the design of the scheme.

This included finding £2 million of savings through value engineering to bring the project inside the client's budget. One example was changing the superstructure of the new-build office from block and render to precast panels, accelerating the programme by 10 weeks.

Grade II-listed building repairs

The 1904 Grade II-listed warehouse, home of the custodial suite, was one of the UK’s first reinforced concrete structures.

The concrete repairs required propping of the structure, hydro-demolition of the damaged concrete, and use of cathodic protection to ensure the corrosion process was prevented or delayed.

A scheme of this size and complexity would have been extremely onerous and time-consuming for us, were it not for Willmott Dixon and project manager David Dixon in particular. He kept us informed of all the issues, and we never felt that there was a problem; he always came to us with solutions.


Sandra Punton, Development Manager, Property & Design, Gateshead Council