Virtus Consult has been appointed to manage the £8.9m conversion of a redundant Banbury office block into a mix of 3-, 2- and 1-bedroom apartments for new owners Cherwell District Council (CDC), which purchased the site from Brickmort Developments.
The Crown House development will be undertaken in phases, with phase two adding a coffee shop on the ground floor and an extension delivering more apartments as CDC looks to deliver housing opportunities in the heart of Banbury and regenerate the town centre.
Ian Wallace, Project Manager at Virtus Consult, commented: “The site’s previous owner had already started work earlier in the year and the decision was made to keep the existing contractor involved to ensure the project deadline remained achievable.
“The most important aspect of managing the project was building a strong relationship with the main contractor, acting as a conduit for the ambition of the Council’s project Board.
“The Design and Build contract contains risks that have to be managed effectively, without incurring additional costs, which places additional responsibility on our team as we look for, and resolve risks. It’s not just about keeping everyone happy; it’s as much about avoiding delays and meeting all the necessary regulations.
“Coming to the project quite late has given us a lot of professional relationships to manage, from the Quantity Surveyors and Architects to the Structural Engineers and Principal Designers, all in addition to the main contractor — projects of this complexity are very much a team effort.
“The Council has been a client for a number of years and we work well commercially together. They are committed to delivering high quality accommodation and we will work hard to ensure the project keeps to its budget and its timeline.
“We expect the project to be completed by the end of 2018, when the final phase of adding car parking for residents will be provided as part of the development.
“We are currently exploring the options to add environmental energy saving technologies to the project and will employ the expertise of the Virtus Consult in-house team to provide the evidence and guide outcomes.”
Virtus Consult offers tailored project management, cost management and energy management consultancy services to a growing number of clients in both the public and private sectors.
Pictured above is the redundant office block in Banbury.