Colchester Borough Council
- Contract Value
- Project Manager
Colchester Borough Homes
Ash Sakula Architects
- Contract Type
JCT Standard with CDP
- Project Lead
What did the project involve?
This was the initial project for Colchester Borough Council to kick start their regeneration of the St Botolph’s area of town and therefore represented a key project for both them and joint funders, Essex County Council. Having worked on the building several times in its past, most notably to convert it from the old police station into Chicago’s nightclub in 1991, Phelan Construction put in a strong bid to win the project at tender.
What challenges did the project team face?
The extensive refurbishment of this historical Grade II listed building included the refurbishment of listed areas such as the windows and stairs, plus the complete strip-out and refurbishment of the derelict building, which had stood empty for several years. , following the strip-out Phelan discovered several areas of the building that required structural repairs or reinforcement, such as rotten timber joists that were previously covered by ceilings. As these works had not been identified previously, there was a significant additional cost associated with carrying out these essential works that amounted to £200k. The local authority client had a fixed budget for the works; therefore, Phelan undertook to review the scheme with CBC and their design team to value engineer other elements of the project in order to bring it back on budget. During this process, Phelan proposed various alternatives to finishes such as flooring, sanitaryware, lighting and joinery items. Many of which were adopted, enabling the client to make the necessary savings without compromising on the quality of the finished project.
What stand-out features did the project boast?
The transformation of the original building into a modern creative hub (plus the later parts, such as the annex and the old police cells) attracted the interest of renowned operator Space, who took this project on as their first venture outside of London. The high-quality finish and sympathy towards the original features of the building have resulted in a striking venue offering flexible working space for around 250 people alongside meeting and networking areas and a large courtyard. It will offer around 20,000 sq.ft of lettable business incubation spaces. Importantly for digital and software businesses the centre will have state-of-the-art connectivity with ultra-fast Broadband 10x faster than what is currently considered to be ‘ultra-fast’ - a first for a town in East Anglia.