DELIVERED On Time to Budget
£12.2m Social Return on Investment

The Challenge:

Refurbishment of a six-storey vibrant public building in Manchester City Centre, arranged around an inner courtyard; the home of Manchester City Council’s Registry Office, with restaurants, bars and retail outlets at street level.

The project involved the full refurbishment of office space and communal areas (over three existing floors) to a high-quality, Category A finish, together with the refurbishment of the Registrars’ facilities.  

Project delivery took place on a constrained live site, logistically challenged in a city centre location. Surrounding outlets had to remain open for public use and the Registry Office continued to conduct wedding ceremonies throughout the construction period. Public safety and noise monitoring were paramount. Quality was a key driver for Manchester City Council and with an interior design that excluded ceilings (presenting all services exposed) we were challenged with a requirement to deliver consistency, meeting a tight programme and budget.

The building forms the gateway to the wider Lincoln Square Masterplan which is helping to revitalise and reinvigorate this important area between the Town Hall and Spinningfields in central Manchester.

The Solution:

Live environment: Through close liaison with the surrounding businesses and Registrars, the team developed a daily works programme, considerate of opening hours and the ceremony timetable, and following drill testing, agreed upon a noise monitoring system, allowing works to continue without business disruption.

We engaged the tenants to understand their business needs to develop a bespoke scaffolding and hoarding system that created large openings to ensure business as usual and maintained public access safely. The scaffold wrap solution also provided promotional space for businesses to maintain footfall. A small-scale temporary fit-out of another wing was provided for staff use, enabling the full refurbishment and fit-out of the offices above the Ceremony room.

Logistics: To reduce congestion and take the delivery wagons off the main street, we re-purposed the courtyard (normally, utilised as a waste disposal area for the businesses) as a delivery point and used Datascope for delivery bookings. We created business designated, safe waste drop-off zones and managed their daily waste disposal. Public protection was managed by creating a separate contractor/delivery access, away from public areas.

Quality: A full bay mock-up was created and approved by Manchester City Council. This was then used to present quality inductions to the installers and as a benchmark throughout the works to ensure consistency. We implemented a quality management system that engaged site staff and the public. We displayed QR code posters across the site, for scanning, and encouraged issues to be logged using a smartphone. These were forwarded to our Project Manager for review/action/close – this is now being shared as best practice across the NWCH Framework.

The Impact:

The project was delivered on time to budget and to the highest quality standards, achieving a post completion client satisfaction score of 9/10.

£12.2 of Social Return on Investment was generated on the scheme, including:


• 86% of the project was delivered by the local workforce
• 84% waste diverted from landfill
• 11 apprentices, including with subcontractor partnerships, equating to 178 apprentice weeks
• 7 x work experience placements
• New local employment, including: administration, hoist, gateman, cleaner and a plasterer, following attendance at an employability event
• Riverview Primary School engagement, delivering an environmental initiative
• 6 x employment support opportunities, including CV writing and interview skills development (via the Skills Company and GMCC talent Match), leading to 1 full-time employment.

The project team engaged with local charities throughout the project. We worked with Manchester Homelessness Partnership and sponsored the Big Change Charity. All staff used the Street Support App to advise and sign-post rough sleepers off the street. Eight Kier employees volunteered at the Barnabus Trust Homeless Drop-in Shelter. Furthermore, our commitment to supporting the Armed Forces was recognised by an ERS Gold Award. By working with Armed Forces Career Transition Partnership, we supported 3 careers sessions and employed an ex-serviceman, through ‘Walking with the Wounded’.

" What started life as a relatively simple project soon became an incredibly complex project due to the requirements of an incoming tenant and the implications of non-disclosure agreements and ability to share levels of information. Only the trusting, open relationships enabled these complex processes to be worked through. In a situation that could easily have brought about frustration and conflict instead brought about a team ethic that developed friendships off the back of the delivery. "
Matthew Cowburn Manchester City Council represented by Walker Sime

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