Interserve completes £2.3m refurbishment for university

Interserve has ccompleted a £2.3m refurbishment of the former Grand Hotel in Newcastle, which is now being used as student accommodation.

The project has seen the hotel, which was built in 1902 and bought by Newcastle University in 1958, refurbished with 66 en-suite bedrooms, 11 kitchens, three lounges, office space and a new lift for disabled access.

Most of the work has centred on the building’s interior, while its Victorian façade complete with ‘Grand Hotel’ lettering has been preserved. Around £100,000 worth of roofing repairs has been undertaken, including the replacement of Westmoreland slate tiles for the building’s pitched roof.

The project, produced to a design by the university’s in-house design team, included many challenges. At one stage 120 acro props were needed to support the fabric of the building, with new steelwork needed to rectify failed floors. The company was required to retain the building’s existing main staircase features, and extend to incorporate new handrails and spindles to match the original installation.

The contract also stipulated incorporating an intelligent building management system, incorporating heating, lighting, power and window controls activated and controlled by card readers in the door of each bedroom. All 143 timber sash windows have also been replaced with new timber double glazed sash units.

While the work was ongoing, ground floor shops had to be kept live at all times. This meant carefully managing shared services, shared access and ensuring noise reduction. Additional work included the complete renewal of all mechanical boiler plant and the building’s heating system.

Rerouting of pipework now means that each bedroom has its own separate riser. Full renewal of electrical wiring has also been completed.

Interserve’s senior quantity surveyor on the project, Michael Evans, said: “The challenge of this project has been to deliver hardwearing, modern facilities in a Victorian building that will meet the long-term needs of the university and its students, all within a city-centre location which demanded a specialist approach to access and sensitive handling of the immediate vicinity.”

Robin Beattie, building surveyor at Newcastle University, said: “The refurbishment has provided Newcastle University with a high quality accommodation facility for its students. Close working between the design team and the project team from was made easier by a longstanding relationship between the two parties. This allowed a regular flow of information to progress the project.”

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