Full project details
Transforming Manchester’s historic jewel in the crown into an open, multi-functional facility for all.
Laing O'Rourke was Manchester City Council’s delivery partner on a complex programme to refurbish the interiors of two of Manchester’s finest public buildings - -the iconic Central Library and Town Hall Extension - and re-landscape one of one its most important public spaces, St Peter’s Square,–. Connecting the two Grade II*-listed buildings for the first time, the scheme protects important heritage features while creating a more accessible, multi-functional public facility. This includes retaining the Council Chamber as a meeting room suite and installing measures to improve long-term energy efficiency and facilities management. The installation of transparent glass facades will open up a set of airy, naturally lit, welcoming spaces; enabling a wide range of customer services to be accessed in a single visit delivering more for less to Manchester’s people and visitors
Breathing life into redundant space
A feature glass and steel stairway and lift were installed within Central Library's to operate from its basement to the top floor. A completely new ground floor created an exhibition/entertainment space; and a new underground connection between the two buildings connects the Complex for the first time, extending the public lending library. The former Rates Hall and Gas and Electric Showrooms – key heritage spaces - have been converted into a customer service centre, cafe and multimedia library.
Optimising Building Information Modelling (BIM)
Close liaison with English Heritage was required to ensure the new design – and significant structural interventions - complemented the building's original architecture. To enhance communication between the stakeholders and workforce, our in-house BIM team created a 3D model; this reduced unnecessary meetings and administration, and sped up the approvals process. The temporary works and demolition phases were simulated prior to construction; this identified crucial workflows in great detail. 5D modelling is also being applied alongside the programme to provide an accurate bill of materials and greater cost certainty.
Up-skilling facilities management (FM)
Our BIM team collaborated with Manchester City Council's FM team to continue to use the 3D model as an intelligent tool for surveying and commissioning post handover. This offers an unparalleled level of operation and maintenance (O&M) data compared to paper-based methods, and will vastly improve ongoing FM and energy performance monitoring.
The finished article
The project now marks the transformation of a historic landmark to provide its users and the community with a vibrant multi-functional customer service centre, exhibition/entertainment area, cafe and multimedia library. During the process we will have contributed to the local economy by utilising the local supply chain and SMEs, and spearheading up-skilling initiatives including the creation of 66 apprenticeships.
Read more about the project at Infoworks