HSBC Clumber Street, Nottingham
When we were awarded a £1.8million contract to refurbish and fit-out HSBC’s flagship branch in central Nottingham, a tight work programme was not the only challenge we faced. Amongst others were heritage controls protecting the building, as we were to integrate a new build section with two adjoining existing buildings, all of which are Grade I listed with exacting protection requirements.
The heritage planning officer was very pro-active explains Paul Hazlehurst of Murray & Willis. “We were prevented from over plastering certain brick walls, just cleaning them so as to leave them mostly exposed. We couldn’t touch floor boarding or some of the ceilings, nor one of the rear staircases, which was protected and had to be incorporated into the new design. We also encountered horse hair plaster panelling, which dated back to the period 1750 – 1800 when the listed part was built. That caused us health and safety issues, which involved taking special protective measures when we did any drilling. Cast iron columns had to stay in situ and even the basement, which was developed, had to stay as it was, with a special tanking system to prevent water getting in,” he concludes.
Playing a key role in ensuring that the design was acceptable to the heritage authority was architect Roger Ball from A & Q Partnership, who committed considerable time advising on heritage compliance. Additionally, he also ensured that the juxtaposition of the modern part of the building blended with the listed parts and that the functionality of the whole structure accorded with HSBC’s operational needs.
Restrictions on crane operations meant local road closures had to be made on a Sunday night, to provide safe access to hoist the heavy air conditioning plant into place on the roof. The actual lift had to be done at four o’clock in the morning and the requirement was to be finished and off site by eight. This procedure was repeated on a second Sunday night.
On the ground floor of the new section of the building, Murray & Willis replaced all the windows and working with the architect, adapted the existing windows within the listed sections of the development. A large photographic mural of Nottingham’s Market Square was to be set behind cash machines. “We weren’t allowed to put it on the glass: the mural had to stand 220mm back from it.
This set us quite a challenge to glaze the window, get the mural in situ and install the machines. It caused us a few headaches and a few days planning to achieve, but the finished effect does look very striking.” said an HSBC representative.
The first floor of the branch is also retail space and includes two counter positions for normal banking and travel money. The second floor is dedicated to serving both Business and Premier customers. This area is fitted-out with leather furniture and special veneers of dark oak or walnut. Some of the interview rooms split into the listed sections, which are again subject to listed building planning restrictions.
Despite the many challenges posed on this contract – notably the special heritage requirements imposed – Murray & Willis completed the project within the allotted seventeen week time-frame, enabling the new Nottingham branch to open its doors for customers on the due day.
“We are delighted with the project and feel that it sets the future quality benchmark for HSBC bank refurbishments.”
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