Office – Oxford City Council, St. Aldate’s Chambers

Offices & Retail
Client:
Oxford City Council
Contract value:
£3.5 million
Services:
Architecture, Cost Consultancy, Project Management, Interior Design

The project involves the refurbishment of St. Aldate’s Chambers to create open plan office accommodation allowing Oxford City Council to rationalise their city centre administration and conference/meeting rooms buildings. The increase in staff capacity is offset by adopting modern flexible working practices involving home working and hot-desking. St. Aldate’s Chambers creates a modern flexible efficient workplace for the Oxford City Council Staff.

St. Aldate’s Chambers is a reinforced concrete frame with external cavity walls and non loadbearing internal partition walls. It was built in the late 1930s originally as a telephone exchange with a ground floor shop premises. The building has four floors plus a basement. The ground to third floors were used as office accommodation with the front area of the ground floor used as the customer services outlet. The basement is used for storage, emergency operations room, union offices and boiler/plant room.

Alternate male and female WCs are located on each floor and the building is serviced by two passenger lifts in the main central stairwell area.

The works involved the demolition of all internal walls to create large open plan office areas on all floors. All existing services were stripped out and replaced with a new floor by floor services infrastructure. Each floor will have a plant and communications room. All existing windows and doors were stripped out and replaced with new modern replacements. The customer services outlet on the ground floor was completely refurbished with new reception area, waiting area, self service computer facilities and interview rooms. New staff showers and changing facilities for cyclists plus an area for cycle storage both in the basement and externally were created.

Project Development

The refurbishment project was part of a move by Oxford City Council to rationalise their city centre administration and combine all 650 staff in one location.

Innovation

  • Frankham assisted in the formulation of the modern working practice assessment to ascertain the capacity required and the resultaing space planning.
  • Frankham assisted in the staff consultation process to ensure all departmental requirements were incorporated into the scheme. Frankham provided 3D visualisations of the key areas to aid staff.
  • Frankham master planned the programme and stakeholder consultation.
  • Frankham managed the enabling works and decanting prior to construction works.

Challenges

  • Planning Permission.
  • Protecting Oxford City Council from main contractor liquidation.
  • Programme management to ensure the phased completion was possible.