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City of Westminster Courts. London. UK

HM Courts and Tribunals Service
Building Construction Engineering ExpertiseDfMA and Offsite Manufacturing
Project partners
Schal, Hurd Rolland, Clifford Tee + Gale, Waterman, Graham Powell Consultants, Hoare Lea

City of Westminster Courts. London. UK

City of Westminster Courts. London. UK

City of Westminster Courts. London. UK

Full project details

London's oldest functioning law courts make way for a state-of-the-art new building with first-class facilities

Laing O'Rourke was appointed as principal contractor to demolish most of the buildings on site and construct new improved space as part of the client's wider strategy to improve the capacity and facilities of the magistrates’ courts in London. The new five-storey building contains ten new magistrates' courtrooms, each with a secure dock and the capability for video conferencing. Support accommodation includes a dedicated secure custody suite that can contain up to ten off-street custody vehicles; secure holding areas adjacent to the courtrooms designed to minimise any unnecessary waiting time; WiFi in parts of the building to make better use of waiting time and improve the level of customer service for visitors; a layout designed for step-free circulation and a number of Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) enhancements to provide access for all; and a dedicated press room. 

A full-length atrium brings natural daylight into the heart of the new building, including the courtrooms, and forms a setting for the linear arrangement of courts. Externally the reinforced concrete post-tensioned structure features a four-storey stone latticework screen that wraps around the front of the building, follows the existing street line and culminates in a grand public entrance forecourt. High quality internal finishes include stone flooring and walnut courtroom linings.

Design and Construction
Both the main and feature lattice facades were engineered with offsite manufacturing in mind and utilised Laing O'Rourke's Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) capabilities. Stonework for the main facade was manufactured and hand fixed by our in-house company Vetter UK. The large stone mullions of the lattice were designed to be hung from a concrete subframe for a monolithic appearance. Individual stones were prepared by the supplier in South Yorkshire and transported to the Laing O’Rourke's DfMA facility for assembly and post-tensioning into 9m and 3m mullions. These were then delivered to site by flat-bed lorry in protective steel cradles, hoisted over the building from the laydown area and installed. In total 2,400m² of Cadeby limestone was installed, including feature lattice wall and handcarved coat of arms.

Environmental initiatives
The GLA target to provide 10% of energy from renewable sources was met by cycling water from the London aquifer and using reversible heat pump technology to extract its energy: primary cooling/heating is delivered via a network of water pipes embedded in the exposed concrete slabs. Our site waste management plan included onsite segregation of materials from demolition: we crushed concrete on site and reused it for piling mats and backfill material, and reclaimed London stock bricks for reuse; items of architectural importance were meticulously removed and donated to the Jackfield Museum. Furthermore, we segregated waste materials and diverted over 95% of this from landfill.


  • Considerate Constructors Scheme Silver

Project fact

Delivered 10 magistrates courts and supporting accommodation

Successfully delivered to the original budget within six weeks of the planned opening date

We built a full-size courtroom mock-up at the BRE facility in Watford to fully validate environmental control proposals

Providing a modern, light and airy ambience that was both welcoming and secure – and at the same time achieving an environmentally friendly BREEAM Excellent – was particularly pleasing.

Eamonn TaylorProject Leader, Laing O'Rourke

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