Stonebow House


Behind The Project:

Stonebow House

Jan. 23 2020

Showcasing the breadth of projects meticulously managed by our team of Building Control surveyors, our new ‘Behind the Project’ series demonstrates the skill and passion behind some of our most interesting schemes.

Managing a caseload of projects across Yorkshire and the North East, the Bureau Veritas Building Control team in Leeds works on a wide variety of large projects in the commercial, bespoke residential and conversion markets. This includes the recent transformation of Stonebow House, a disused 1960s building in the vibrant heart of historic York, into a stunning, prestigious mixed-use development of residential, retail and leisure space.

Working in consultation with DLA Architecture in Leeds, main contractor Caddick Construction and their client, property development and investment specialist Oakgate Group, Bureau Veritas played a vital role in the project, which saw the building given a completely new look.

The variations saw a material change of use to the office element within the tower into luxury flats, as a well as refurbishment and alteration works to the existing commercial units at ground level. Typically 1960s in style, Stonebow House was refurbished into a stylish mixed-use development of 17 luxury apartments with four penthouses. Retaining its sound structure and architectural features, it now boasts 31,500 sq ft of retail and leisure space in what is an area of key investment and rejuvenation, in the historic centre of York.

This was a significant project for the area, giving a new lease of life to an iconic building familiar with those who pass through the city centre on a regular basis.

The completion of the project took just under 12 months, during which time our managing surveyor Rob Cuthbertson and his team ensured compliance was achieved with regular site inspections and a close collaborative working style.

Change of use challenges

The very nature of this project required complex and significant structural alterations, whilst additional fire safety measures were needed to satisfy the requirements of the new residential dwellings. Bureau Veritas supported the design team on measures to ensure compliance, but also to help ensure aesthetic excellence throughout the development.

A new double-height lobby incorporated new access to the building from street level and acoustic upgrades were also needed to meet a residential purpose group. Fire safety measures to meet AD BV2 requirements included the incorporation of a fire fighting shaft to the building and smoke control to the premises, whilst advice was given to ensure Part L upgrades suited the make-up of the existing building.

Rob said: “We work on a range of new build projects but also the refurbishment of older infrastructure, which means we appreciate the complexities often uncovered with older buildings or change of use situations. This development had a very particular set of demands from a Building Control point of view and it was vital that we were in a position to facilitate efficient, lean working practices so that the client’s multi-disciplined team could meet deadlines and keep the project moving forwards, without compromising the quality of the building’s new design.”

The project also saw multiple commercial units altered to form two, larger commercial units, a complex task which incorporated internal demolition works, alterations to the external elevations and a new glazed facade.

Bureau Veritas was on hand to support with advice on the small floor plate and potential means of escape requirements, all of which was done with a view to the future fit-out of the ground floor space, which now houses a gym.

Collaborative working relationships

Thanks to this efficient way of working and close relationships between all parties, the renovation was completed on schedule and with full compliance throughout.

Rob continues: “For the contractors and architectural teams on site, overcoming unforeseen compliance challenges quickly and effectively is crucial for maintaining the schedule of works – particularly when working on older buildings.

“This means working collaboratively, both in a consulting and supportive capacity; understanding their urgency and the knock-on effect delays have on site, and working to communicate, advise and resolve their challenges in a manner which keeps things moving for them.

“Concise, helpful information, via phone, face-to-face and in writing is critical if we, as a team, are to assist our clients effectively whilst still achieving the compliance required. And that’s exactly what we were able to facilitate on the Stonebow House project.”

Where skill and pride collide

With building control teams throughout the UK, working on projects in their own regions, our specialist surveyors enjoy working on schemes in areas that they are passionate about. Combining their professional skills, with an inherent passion for projects in their own “backyard” enables them to form lasting relationships with contractors, architectural teams and developers.

This was demonstrated perfectly with the prestigious Stonebow House development, which is located in Rob’s hometown, of York, adding an extra sense of pride to his role in the regeneration of the area.

Rob concludes: “It’s always a pleasure to work on notable projects which directly influence my local area and the people around me; that extra sense of pride goes on long after the project is finished.

“The improvements made to this iconic building have been immeasurable and I, for one, am immensely proud to have been involved in such a project.”

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