Working on behalf of Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council, our team successfully delivered the £3.1m final phase of the transformation of the former Ashton Old Baths site into a vibrant digital hub with workspace for businesses in the surrounding area.
Further workspaces, meeting rooms and other facilities have been added to the historic Grade II* Listed building, with our works including the construction of co-working spaces, communal areas, meeting rooms, shared kitchens and a state-of-the-art data centre.
Heritage features of special interest such as the former lobby entrance, roof lights and tiled floors were also sympathetically restored to maintain the historic character and architectural highlights of the much loved local landmark.
The entire building has been renovated throughout, with the external walls restored to make it completely air and water tight, and structural works to reinforce and enhance its original features. The newly-constructed core of the building houses a diverse range of office, meeting and conference space, and the Baths’ original iconic arches have been transformed into stylish meet-up spaces.
As described, Ashton Old Baths is a Grade II* Listed Building, therefore all operations were assessed and approved by the Project Conservation Officer to ensure our approach and methodology was suitable to protect the historic fabric. This included use of hand tools rather than power tools, use of specialist cleaning equipment such as TORC and DOFF and allocation of highly qualified specialist stone masons.
Within our contract, we were responsible for the design and construction of the main staircase, glazed screens and doors, M&E, roof lights and the datacentre fit-out. We employed specialist designers and subcontractors who we knew had the relevant expertise and qualifications to develop designs which were able to create a modern approach for the building whist also sensitively protecting the historic features. Design Development Meetings were held regularly during the Pre-Commencement stage with our Designers, Subcontractors, Site Management Team, Client Team and Conservation Officer to ensure suitable designs were signed off ready for construction.
The scope of works in Phase 2 included installation of a new datacentre within the building. This was constructed by Sudlows, a contractor named by Tameside MBC. Due to the listed nature of the building, the datacentre was constructed within the former ladies bathing area using a steel frame and modular wall and ceiling panel construction. This “room within a room” environment protected the features of the building whilst also creating a secure and clean environment in which to accommodate the IT equipment.
The data centre had to be operational by a certain date as it was due to be used by Tameside MBC. We therefore coordinated our works around the programme developed by Sudlows, arranging weekly review meetings to ensure our programmes were constantly aligned. This detailed management led to the datacentre being handed over in-time for client use. The area was then completely sealed to avoid damage to the new datacentre from potential construction dust.
Using the Social Value Portal and the National TOMs Database to monitor and record our social value impact on this project, we were able to provide £885,163 in added value for the local community by providing jobs and apprenticeships for local people, employing local suppliers and subcontractors and supporting local organisations such as Rochdale Development Agency, Hopwood Hall College.