Engineering consultancy Sweco gives Narrow Quay a new lease of life on Bristol’s Quayside

Mark Willis, associate at Sweco UK, at Narrow Quay House, Bristol. ©Barbara Evripidou 2016

A 1950s office building at the heart of Bristol’s Quayside has been given a new lease of life thanks to full internal refurbishment by engineering consultancy Sweco.

Sweco was appointed by Standard Life Investments to undertake the project, which saw the consultancy work closely with architects AWW to develop a series of technical proposals with the objective of transforming the building into high-quality, grade-A office space.

A key component of the plans involved increasing the total floor areas from 5,300 sq m to 7,000 sq m and maximising the floor-to-ceiling heights to create a greater sense of space.  The building is a former warehouse, meaning that the top three floors have low structural heights and downstand beams, which Sweco had to work around to convert the space into a modern, flexible facility that can cater to various potential layouts.

The project was managed by Sweco’s building services, energy and environment team led by Mark Willis who worked alongside architects AWW to create an outstanding refurbished office space that has transformed Narrow Quay into a high-quality, modern office environment.

In addition to the structural challenges, the brief set out certain environmental stipulations, including the need to meet Bristol City Council’s requirement to offset a minimum 20 per cent of carbon emissions through the use of renewable technology.  This requirement saw Sweco integrate photovoltaic arrays (solar panels) into the building services, allowing the building to generate its own electricity.

Mark Willis, associate at Sweco, said: “This was a challenging project and we are very proud of the final result.  We pride ourselves on being able to deliver outstanding consultancy throughout the UK, and our work on this project underlines our ability to work to a very specific brief and within a carefully-controlled budget to produce a final result that is now setting the standard for office refurbishments.”

In the UK, Sweco employs 800 people and has particular expertise in the fields of energy, transportation, environment, asset management, sustainable buildings and water.

It consults on major projects nationwide via its network of offices in Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Maidenhead, Manchester, Newcastle, Peterborough and Solihull.