Your browser does not support JavaScript!
Project Fraser House Hub Digital Office
Project Value £1.5M
Project Type Full Industrial Refurbishment
Project Duration 40 Weeks
The Project

Fraser House Club

Our client was Lancashire County Council, who awarded us £1.5 million to complete this project.

The project was for Krol Corlett to transform Fraser House into a hub for IT and digital work.

Work on the project commenced in April 2020, with the project being officially announced to the press in July 2020.

The project was set to be completed within 40 weeks in time for February 2021.Ultimately, the project finished ahead of time within 38 weeks. And the complex was officially handed over to Lancashire County Council in March 2021.

Project Scope

We had previously worked on numerous projects within the Lancashire region, amongst these being an expansion into Preston. But this represented the organisation’s first instance of working with Lancashire County Council. We were chosen based on our strong track record of completing such projects to the highest professional standard.

The basis for this project was to transform an office building that was left unused in the form of Fraser House. The purpose of which would be to turn it into a new, vibrant, and motivating nerve centre for the Council’s digital and IT activity. Fraser House had originally been an old mill for cotton and heavy industry. The building had previously undergone refurbishment for office space used by the NHS and the Council with mental health management as the focal point. But this new project would need to form part of the Council’s digital strategy in terms of appearance and functionality, as well as showcasing the building’s previous history and character.

Initially, there had to be a total deconstruction of every internal wall as well as the removal of existing services. From there Krol Corlett would collaborate with Lindsay Cohen Lead Architect and Lorna Clems Fit Out Architect to deliver the client brief. This consisted of building three- storey space to act as a light, airy and modern open plan office complex.

This required the building from scratch of features to appear on the internal and external walls of Fraser House. Alongside new walls and partitions, the focus was to not only integrate but also visually demonstrate the new hub’s mechanical and electrical services. This would act as a bridge between promoting what the hub now offers, but also what the building previously offered, from its columns to its décor to its exposed brickwork.

Project Works

To carry out such a complex project to the required quality levels, the Krol Corlett team divided the area into four phases.

This would not only allow the work to flow simultaneously across Fraser House, but it also allowed the construction team to adhere to Covid-19 principles, with the pandemic occasionally delaying work from the start and within its duration.

The four areas in question were the top floor offices; the middle floor offices; the front of house reception and coffee area on the ground floor; and the extensions and co-working spaces, also situated on the ground floor. As each stage was completed, the areas in question dove-tailed into one another to form the final completed version of Fraser House.

Challenges Faced

For the structural works, there had to be six major walls with a width of 900mm (equal to 90cm, or 7 ½ square feet) knocked through. It was also discovered that the original columns within the building had lead paint coverings, which had to be removed via sand blasts. Though these issues arose during development, appropriate project management and proactivity meant that these tasks were achieved alongside the existing work requirements and within the original timeframe.

The nature of this particular project also required the works to be completely exposed in the aftermath of construction. This meant that everything from design and layout to cabling and pipework installation had to be planned with precision due to these being visible by future users.

All of which necessitated a more specific approach to the delivery of this project.

Though the building was undergoing a transformation, the legacy of its history was still to be honoured. This meant the preservation and modernised presentation of its steel works, plaques, mill wall openings, brickwork, and other features. They were cleaned to appear brand new, but they could not be removed nor drastically altered. The Krol Corlett team was able to achieve this, thus finding the correct balance between ushering in a new era and honouring the old era for Fraser House.

There was also a stage during mid-December whereby the building’s fire rating changed from 30 minutes to 60 minutes. That necessitated the painting, sanding, and repainting of steel works and columns. Ultimately, each of these challenges were overcome as the project reached its successful conclusion.

Progress

The work continued throughout the designated construction period on each weekday. In the meantime, there were meetings between parties on both sides: Lorna from Krol Corlett and Janet from Lancashire County Council. These meetings would take place twice a week, every week, to ensure that the project was being completed according to plan, with alterations and considerations on client requests where necessary. Of the allocated 40 weeks, the first 24 weeks were devoted to the deconstruction of the original work.

At that point, the final measurements could be taken, along with the ordering of the materials needed to carry out the refurbishment of Fraser House. From there, 6 weeks of procurements were followed by the completion of the project. In addition, charity work in the local area, which included contributions to food banks and the community within Lancashire, was performed across the duration of the project.