Surgo Construction Ltd (Surgo), one of the region’s leading building contractors, has been appointed to two new refurbishment projects.

One is a mixed use refurbishment project at 31-33 Church Street, Durham for Up North Group.  The three-storey, 200-year-old property, which has been derelict for almost 12 years, is destined to become luxury apartments and student accommodation/leisure and will be built out over two phases.

Phase one, valued at £1m, will incorporate the student accommodation and luxury apartments, lasting around 27 weeks.  Surgo is currently in negotiation with Up North over the second phase.

Whilst the project provides a great showcase for Surgo’s listed building skills, it does present a few challenges and will require some careful planning and coordination on a number of fronts, as Jeff Alexander, director, explains:

“Before our appointment, some controlled demolition was required following significant structural collapse at the rear of the buildings.  Added to the fact that the buildings are Grade II listed, we will need to work closely with the conservation experts to ensure the restoration works are fully compliant.

“Additionally, because of the project’s proximity to other dwellings, it is essential that nearby property owners are kept regularly updated on our construction activities and feel reassured that the project is in safe hands.

“Finally, but by no means least, the buildings are located on a very tight, city centre site with the development entrance on a busy junction.  The project is also adjacent to Durham University’s student union building, which overlooks the Kingsgate Bridge – used extensively by tourists crossing to Durham Cathedral as well as students travelling to and from university – so there will be a number of potential hazards to address throughout the construction programme.”

Working with Surgo on the project, other members of the professional team include Todd Milburn Partnership as client’s agent/PQS; principle designer/architect is Interior DNA; Maughan Reynolds Partnership Limited is structural engineer, while services engineering is being provided by Clark Degnan Consulting Engineers.

Surgo’s second appointment after winning a competitive tender is for the £1.39m refurbishment of Richmond House, an office block, which forms part of The Watermark development at Dunston.

Working on behalf of Wilson Bowden Developments, Surgo’s brief is to undertake a complete internal refurbishment including the installation of new services, ceilings and partitions.

The contract, which started at the beginning of April, will last 18 weeks, with completion forecast for the 4th August.

Surgo was also recently named as one of Durham University’s preferred partners to deliver a programme of minor repair and new build works valued between £500,000 and £4m.  The university, which counts around 300 buildings across the city and beyond within its estate, plans to spend around £12m annually through its minor works framework.  A number of opportunities are already starting to come through.