22 August 2011
The new £71m City of Westminster Magistrates Court has
achieved practical completion.
Capita Symonds has been providing cost management advice on the
project on behalf of Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service
(HMCTS) since 2006.
Given the significance of this court (the highest profile
magistrates court in England and Wales), its location, and the
requirement within the brief to create a civic presence, a building
of the highest quality was required. Located in a densely developed
urban location on the corner of Seymour Place and Marylebone Road,
the scheme has presented the team with a number of challenges:
- Rights of Light: The development had
restricted rights of light envelope;
- Party Wall Awards: There were numerous party
walls to deal with and construct against;
- Transport for London: The location on
Marylebone Road and proximity to underground lines meant close
engagement with TfL;
- Retention of existing Court House:
Conservation and retention of part of the old Court Building on the
- Planning and Conservation issues: The
prominence of the site on Marylebone Road within a conservation
area meant the building needed to respond to a number of issues to
provide a high quality civic building within the development plan.
This included the retention of a Ginko tree ‘off site’ and then
reinstatement on completion.
- Security Issues: Ensuring the site was secure
and allowed safe access to custody areas yet still allowed public
access. This met the HMCS requirement of providing a building that
allows justice to be seen to be done;
- Acoustic Performance: The acoustic performance
of a court room is critical to the operation of the building and
the location on a main road network meant the design had given
careful consideration to this issue.
In addition to this, the development is a BREEAM 'excellent'
rated building and meets the 10% renewables target set by the GLA.
This was met by heat rejection through aquifer coupling to provide
a static cooling system using the thermal mass of the building
assisted by displacement ventilation. The concrete superstructure
provided the thermal mass and the solution comprises casting
polybutylene pipes into the in-situ post tensioned slabs.
In order to prove this system the team (designers and
contractor) recommended a mock-up of a typical slab in the design
phase. Commissioned through BRE, the output from this exercise
ensured cooling loads would be met and the solution could be used
as a low energy exemplar for the Courts Service on other
Ivan O’Toole says: “Capita Symonds’ role involved numerous
option studies to maximise the site within the constraints as well
as ongoing value management. We also built up a Life Cycle Costing
model for the building to test various design solutions, gain
additional BREEAM points and help the HMCS estates team find the
optimum solution in terms of whole life cost.”
“The project is on budget with the contract sum and estimated
final cost within the client’s budget set at the outline business
case stage of the project. Risk has been progressively managed
throughout the project with regular risk reviews and updated fully
costed risk registers,” he adds.
The project was procured via a competitive dialogue OJEU
procedure with the construction contract being a two stage Design
and Build route using a GC/Works1 form. Laing O’Rourke was
appointed at the conclusion of the Competitive Dialogue