West Yorkshire Combined Authority spends £8m on Leeds headquarters refubishment

West Yorkshire Combined Authority has completed an £8m refurbishment of its city centre headquarters, a project which cost £1.2m more than its original budget due to delays and escalating costs caused by the impact of the covid-19 pandemic.

The publicly-funded organisation, which oversees large transport and infrastructure projects in the region, has refurbished 48,300 sq ft across all five floors of Wellington House, a 1980s office building in Leeds city centre.

The body, which is run by West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin and council leaders in the region appointed Wilmott Dixon Interiors, the fit-out and refurbishment specialist contractor, in 2020 to complete the work.

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The refurbishment was expected to cost £6.8m and complete in November last year but the final bill is £8m, according to Wilmott Dixon.

(Front, l-r) Phil Davies, Faithful+Gould; Mark Woollen, WIllmott Dixon Interiors. (Back, l-r) James Paterson Faithful+Gould; Chris Hall, WIllmott Dixon Interiors; Phil Tovey, Faithful+Gould; Phil Sanderson, WIllmott Dixon Interiors.

The building features a reconfigured entrance lobby and internal layout, as well as improved accessibility and modern conference rooms for public meetings.

Externally the structure has been re-roofed and photovoltaic panels installed to improve the building’s energy efficiency and reduce its carbon footprint.

Originally constructed in the early 1900s, Wellington House was rebuilt following fire damage in the late 1980s.

The refurbishment contract was awarded to Willmott Dixon Interiors via Major Works England and Northern Ireland - part of the Scape National Construction framework - and was delivered by a project team that included Faithful+Gould and NPS Leeds.

Phil Crowther, regional director at Willmott Dixon Interiors, said: “This refurbishment is a strategically important project for West Yorkshire Combined Authority, that has been designed with sustainability and wellbeing at its core.

“It’s especially pleasing to have successfully completed the renovation considering the challenges that have been posed by the pandemic and an increased demand for building materials across the UK.”

A spokesperson for the West Yorkshire Combined Authority added: “Our refurbished Wellington House office provides our staff with a modern, fit-for-purpose work space which is more environmentally friendly and will reduce our carbon footprint, more cost efficient and easier to access for people with reduced mobility.

“This has also enabled us to close our other Leeds city centre office and reduce our overall running costs.

“The final costs for the work are yet to be determined but we estimate they could be higher than originally anticipated due to unavoidable delays and cost increases to both materials and labour caused largely by the impact of the covid pandemic.”

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