A challenging mixed use refurbishment project we are working on at 31-33 Church Street, Durham, which is destined to become luxury apartments and student accommodation/leisure, should provide a great showcase for our listed building skills once complete.

The three-storey, 200-year-old property had been derelict for some 11 years when we were appointed and had already required some urgent, controlled demolition at the start of the year following significant structural collapse at the rear of the buildings, which had rendered them unsafe.

Phase one, valued at £1m, will incorporate the student accommodation and luxury apartments and will last around 27 weeks.  The £1.2m second phase, which was negotiated by senior QS, Andy Rae, will include additional student accommodation as well as a cafe and terrace and will last a further 35 weeks.

Commenting on the project, site manager, Norman Trainer, said:  “The project will need careful planning and coordination on a number of fronts. Firstly, the buildings are still structurally unsound in some areas and are Grade 2 listed, so we will have to work closely with conservation experts to ensure the restoration works are fully compliant.

“Additionally, because of the proximity to other dwellings, we will need to reassure nearby property owners that the project is in safe hands and keep them advised of our construction activities.

Church St web 0096

“Finally, but by no means least, the buildings are located on a very tight, city centre site with its entrance on a busy junction.  The properties are 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 – so there are a number of potential hazards to address.”

Phase one construction has already commenced and phase two will begin 17 June.

Working on behalf of client, Up North Group, Surgo’s other project partners 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.