When the ICE decided to consolidate its London staff into two buildings, rather than spreading workers across the capital, few would have predicted just how close they managed to make the two buildings.
The ICE’s headquarters at One Great George Street (OGGS) are a mere 100m away from its most recent major purchase, 8 Storey’s Gate (8SG). 8SG is fully owned by the ICE, paid for by the sale of its Heron Quay offices in
2009. Currently the building is undergoing a complete refurbishment. Construction costs are estimated at £3.15M.
With professional fees, VAT, IT, furniture and contingency added, the total bill for refurbishing the building comes up to £5.17M, as approved by Council in March 2010.
These costs will be met partly by a mortgage, the repayments of which will be met by the rent paid by Thomas Telford (TTL) for the new office space, and partly by the transference of funds from other investments.
Last year, former ICE president Paul Jowitt was keen to dispel fears that the building would be paid for with members’ money.
He said: “In the short term, TTL will cover the loan required for the refurbishment of 8SG in lieu of rent. Thereafter, TTL will pay the ICE for the rental of its use of 8SG, just as it did previously for the use of Heron Quay. No subscription income will be required to pay for this refurbishment.”
The Victorian four-storey building will fit in fully with the ICE’s low-carbon agenda. The building dates back to at least 1882, and its last role was as an European Commission base several years ago. With 30-40 people working on site at the moment, the refurbishment is currently focused on gutting out the interior. The exterior of the building is sound and work there is mainly localised brick repair.
On the inside, however, a flurry of demolition is taking place to make away for a new lift system and an open-plan
office space on each floor.
With major sections of the front of the building listed, conservation work is taking place to preserve the original staircases and decorative brickwork.
Some surprises have also emerged out of the remodeling of the interior, with original timber frames supporting the roof becoming exposed, which will have to be replaced with more modern support structures.
The refurbishment will not be lacking in green credentials, with ICE Council opting for the most extensive ecologically sound option when choosing at what level to refurbish the building. Features will include a grass roof for insulation, and the plan is to source staff from as nearby as possible to reduce carbon emissions from transport.
It is envisaged that staff will move out of OGGS and the ICE’s rented space at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and Marsh Wall into their new home, with the vacated space being used, Jowitt says, to “expand services for members.”
Work is now well under way, with a move-in date for the staff scheduled for February next year.