Hotel refurb for Newcastle students

Construction group Interserve completes refurbishment of Newcastle hotel to create extra student accommodation

Interserve, the international support services and construction group, has completed a £2.3 million refurbishment of a historic locally listed city centre hotel in Newcastle upon Tyne to create extra student accommodation for Newcastle University. The Grand Hotel was built in 1902 and bought 56 years later by the university to accommodate students from across the globe.

The project saw the creation of 66 en-suite bedrooms, 11 kitchens, three lounges, office space and a new lift for disabled access. The majority of work was focused on the interior of the building, with its Victorian façade being carefully preserved, and the ‘Grand Hotel’ lettering – carved into stone between two ball-finial capped gables – will be retained for future generations.

Interserve has undertaken full repair and renovation of the building’s feature stonework façade to front and side elevations, replacing over 100 stone balusters to the parapet in order to mirror the original installations of over 100 years ago.Approximately £100,000 worth of roofing repairs have been undertaken, including the replacement of Westmoreland slate tiles for the building’s pitched roof.

During the work programme, Interserve overcame a number of structural challenges. At one stage some 120 acro props were required 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.

Newcastle University’s in-house design team designed the project, specifying an intelligent Building Management System, incorporating heating, lighting, power and window controls activated and controlled by card readers in the door of each bedroom.

By swiping an access key card students will be able to activate automatically the lights and controls in their room, even including the thermostat on radiators. The system will also allow individual control to the student bedrooms with a view to conserving energy and reducing running costs. Also boosting the environmental credentials of the refurbishment is the sympathetic replacement of all 143 timber sash windows with new timber double glazed sash units.

A key challenge of the scheme was the combination of a very restricted site access coupled with the need to keep ground floor shops 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 of the Grand Hotel has provided Newcastle University with a high quality accommodation facility for its students. Close working between the design team from Newcastle University and the project team from Interserve was made easier by a long-standing relationship between the two parties. This allowed a regular flow of information to progress the project.”

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