India Buildings is being refurbished ahead of more than 3,500 HMRC staff moving in during 2020 but the scheme ran into problems following the discovery of asbestos. Tony McDonough reports
A new contractor has started work on the £11m refurbishment of India Buildings in Liverpool after the previous contractor had its contract terminated.
Caddick Construction has taken over the scheme on the 350,000 sq ft Grade II-listed building that was acquired by Legal & General (L&G) n a record £125m deal in 2018 from Shelborn Asset Management.
Shelborn is the development manager of the project which ran into problems earlier this month after it was revealed nearly 400 tonnes of asbestos had been discovered, placing doubts over whether HMRC would be able to move in.
Acting swiftly, Shelborn has terminated the agreement with the original contractor, Styles & Wood, and brought in Caddick to take over the job with immediate effect. However, it is understood Styles & Wood is unhappy with the decision and is taking legal advice.
The programme of refurbishment across the of commercial space will include complex remedial work, façade repairs and cleaning, as well as renewal of more than 50% of office ceilings, re-lining of the cast iron drainage system, wholesale building services replacement, ornate window refurbishments, new roofs and roof lights.
Caddick will also be installing five new lifts and refurbishing eight existing lifts, providing modern office space.
India Buildings, with its principal entrance on Water Street, offers office accommodation as well as straddling the former Chorley Street (now the Holt Arcade) and an underground station entrance. Originally built between 1924 and 1932, it survived wartime bomb damage and was restored successfully by one of the original architects.
The 12-storey building occupies a whole block, and is surrounded by Water Street, Brunswick Street, Fenwick Street, and Drury Lane in the heart of the city centre. It also boasts a mezzanine, basement with parking facilities and a sub-basement.
Clad in Portland stone and with a roof of green Lombardic tiles, India Buildings is a well-known central landmark in a city known for its rich architectural heritage. Following a campaign by the Twentieth Century Society, it was awarded Grade II* listed status on November 5, 2013.
Caddick Construction senior project manager, Mark Walker, said: “This is a prestigious building in the heart of Liverpool that has many unique facets to its design, both internal and external. We are delighted to be coming onboard for this challenging project that is anything but your run-of-the-mill refurbishment.
“We are working to quickly re-engage with the existing supply chain and are confident of a seamless handover to HMRC as existing anchor tenants early summer 2020.”