Manchester's Corn Exchange is one of the city's most iconic buildings. Built in 1897, the Grade II listed property has had various uses over the years. Originally, as the name suggests, it was used by traders all over the region for the buying and selling of corn. In later years it was used briefly by the Royal Exchange Theatre Company and was also an outlet for dozens of independent retailers and stallholders.
From 1996 onwards it was redeveloped as a major shopping centre, home to brands such as Adidas and MUJI. The site closed in 2014 and was purchased by Aviva. It has since undergone a £30M transformation to become a major dining destination, housing a mix of 16 fine dining and chain restaurants, as well as a hotel.
Following a tender process, HFL Building Solutions were awarded the contract for a major programme of works at the Corn Exchange. Central to this was the requirement to remove three large main boilers which had been in place since 1996 but were now beyond repair.
Once dismantled and removed from site, they were to be replaced with three new boilers, designed to improve energy efficiency by between 20% and 25%. The work would need to be completed within an agreed timescale and take account of various restrictions relating to Building Regulations and delivery/loading times.
We were delighted to be given the contract to work on a project which is fundamental to the redevelopment of the magnificent Corn Exchange in Manchester. The timing of each element was critical but everything went smoothly thanks to our experienced team of planners, designers and engineers. We have proved once again that HFL Building Solutions are professionals when it comes to managing logistically complex projects. Dave Saxton, Managing Director - HFL Building Solutions
The HFL team, led by dedicated Account Manager, Gareth Owens, had several logistical problems to overcome. Firstly they needed to plan the careful removal of the existing boilers from the three-storey building. Next they needed to design new highly efficient boilers which would fit into the allocated space and would have the capacity to meet current and future requirements – as well as the requisite Building Regulations. In addition they would have to plan logistically how to turn off the water and electricity (bearing in mind that there would be several other contractors working on site) and make emergency provision for this. Finally the new boilers would need to be delivered and installed in line with an agreed timescale.
Fortunately, having already worked as a maintenance contractor for the Corn Exchange, HFL Building Solutions knew the site well and were familiar with its challenges and restrictions. For instance, because of its location in the heart of Manchester city centre, there were access restrictions on the areas directly outside the building. This meant that any deliveries or loading had to be undertaken within a four hour window each morning; something which had to be factored into the work schedule. Gareth and the team planned each stage meticulously. The new boilers were designed and built off site so that, once the site was clear, they were ready to be installed. Meanwhile, the old boilers were carefully dismantled in sections ready to be removed during the four hour time slots. Similarly, when the time came for installation of the new boilers, they were delivered in sections, with the parts number sequenced to speed up the rebuilding process. The boilers were then tested to make sure they were functioning correctly.
Debra Stout, Facilities Manager at the Corn Exchange was extremely impressed with the work undertaken by HFL. HFL Building Solutions were excellent. The project involved a number of complicated elements and some very key timings, all of which were managed and planned very well and delivered to time and budget.