Wates Construction has successfully completed work on the £79.7m renovation of Royal College of Surgeons of England’s (RCS England) new headquarters in London, bringing an historic and culturally significant building into the 21st Century.
The careful redevelopment of the Lincoln’s Inn Fields building, retains the historic frontage and character of Sir Charles Barry’s design, architect of the Palace of Westminster, whilst incorporating high-tech and environmentally sustainable construction, delivering flexible teaching spaces, examination rooms, function rooms, a cafe and a large glazed central atrium.
The complex work included the refurbishment of the building’s existing 200-year-old library, skilfully combining the old with the new by reusing existing fireplaces and wall panelling, which were refurbished offsite and replaced in new locations.
Delivered during the pandemic, the Wates team was able to continue works and make considerable time savings by using a high-level of offsite manufacturing via its offsite facility, Prism. The delivery of the plant room, for example, was installed in four successive days — a programme of works that would have taken up to 16 weeks using traditional methods.
The project adds to Wates Construction’s extensive and growing portfolio of heritage site redevelopment across the capital, including the V&A Museum extension, the £300m redevelopment of Borough Yards, the Metropolitan Police Service’s Grade II listed Hammersmith Police Station and multiple buildings across Parliament’s northern estates in Westminster.
The RCS England scheme delivered high levels of economic, environmental and social value to the local area — a core part of the Wates family’s ethos to be a driver behind positive social change. This included £5m spent with SMEs, helping 56 local people into employment and training initiatives, creating 1,078 training weeks for local people and 4,151 hours invested by Wates staff to support them.
A further £426k was invested into training local people, while 1,230 students were supported by education activities and £10k was invested into supporting education in the area. Four apprentices and trainees also progressed on the project, moving closer to their qualifications.
Mark Tant, Managing Director, Wates Construction said: “This scheme adds to Wates’ burgeoning portfolio of work to restore our nation’s most precious national heritage assets, ensuring they are there to be enjoyed by future generations.
“Sir Charles Barry’s original design was at the heart of this restoration, and it is an honour to work on historically important buildings like this and contribute to preserving our capital’s wonderful architecture.
“We have not only successfully completed this scheme despite the difficulties imposed by the pandemic but have incorporated cutting-edge technology to make this building smart, sustainable and safe, bringing it into the 21st Century.”
Phil Shortman, Regional Managing Director for London, Wates Construction commented: “This new headquarters is another example of Wates’ high-quality, specialist heritage delivery in our country’s capital. We are the forefront of London’s drive to maintain its historical buildings and our team have delivered once again on a complicated refurbishment. I’m immensely proud not only of the build, but the way in which it has been used to drive our business’ equality and sustainability agendas through our diverse team and excellent use of offsite.”
Jackie Weller, Deputy Chief Executive at the Royal College of Surgeons of England said: “Wates have done a fantastic job redeveloping our ageing building into a bright and modern space, whilst also maintaining our much-loved historical features. We are very pleased with the final outcome and can’t wait to unveil the building to the wider surgical community and the public.”