The project is a property renovation, creating another boutique hotel that is remotely manned and monitored (removing the need for a traditional reception). The hotel is designed to be a fun space in the centre of town, with a focus on super comfy beds and smart tech. Reservations and guest support will be handled in the same way as their first hotel.
This time, we’re dealing with a Grade II Listed property situated within the bounds of the historic Brighthelmstone, making it a more complex project. When purchased, the building was in a poor state. The external fire escape route, for example, is beyond repair. And the roof had been covered with a waterproofing membrane that is detrimental to the fabric of the building! Additionally, some elements of work (such as replacement UPVC windows) had been previously carried out without planning permission and would need rectifying.
An initial research phase involved reviewing the history of the building. This included time spent at The Keep as well as various site visits. We prepared a heritage, design and access statement in support of a part-retrospective Listed Building Consent application, for the replacement of existing windows and for general refurbishment and minor reconfiguration works.
Early engagement was made with the Conservation Officer, and during the design phase we worked with the council to obtain pre-application advice. This gave our clients piece of mind as to the possibilities for the building. It also gave them an understanding of elements that the Conservation Officer wanted to see, retain and repair.
We designed new layouts and spaces, and provided detailing. The spaces needed upgrading and we specified products that would satisfy Building Regs and improve the user experience. And make the building safe! All of this was required to achieve the relevant consents.
Then we developed a package for a competitive tender. This enabled our clients to appoint a contractor with cost confidence.
Certain issues were visible from the inside and outside. For example, a large number of areas damaged by water ingress and damp. We suspected there might also be some hidden problems, and unfortunately the opening up works revealed a catalogue of issues (described in detail here). We have been regularly attending site to discuss possible solutions with the contractor and clients. And we have also ensured the Conservation Officer is aware of the latest developments, to determine the final scope and interventions required.
With the construction phase underway, our ongoing role remains that of lead consultant. This involves addressing compliance requirements and ensuring coordination of the design on site. So we have begun liaison with Building Control. And we are in constant dialogue with the Conservation Officer regarding the sometimes-competing standards of compliance and heritage.
This project is currently in the early stages of transformation. We look forward to sharing ‘after’ photos when the redevelopment of this boutique hotel is complete.
Do check out John’s blog on the progress and things we have found wrong with the building whilst on site, ‘For the love of lime’