Built in 1903 and one of the few remaining ‘kursaal’ buildings in England, the Grade II* listed Royal Hall had fallen into disrepair with extensive water damage to floors and basement walls. A feasibility study was carried out by local consultants before the project went out to OJEU. The recommendation was to replace all original clinker concrete filler joist slabs and undertake extensive work on the foundations.
As part of the OJEU process, we were one of six shortlisted teams to visit the site before submitting a tender, and the only practice to suggest the slabs could be kept and that the basement and foundations might not need quite as much work as proposed.
We were subsequently appointed, and appropriate load testing and other structural investigations proved that over 85% of the slabs could be saved and there was no need to upgrade the foundations.
The cost saving of this strategy was in the millions, allowing the work to be carried out within the budget available from Heritage Lottery Fund and locally raised funding. A further benefit in keeping the slabs in place was that many of the listed finishes could also remain. This was very much appreciated by the client and made it a lot easier for the design team to achieve approval from English Heritage.