Victoria Quarter, Leeds.
In January 2015, Aura Conservation Ltd secured the 24 month contract to restore the intricately detailed terracotta façade and complex roof domes of the flamboyant and beautiful, luxury retail shopping arcade, Victoria Quarter, centrally located in Leeds.
Designed by Frank Matcham in 1898-1904, it is now a grade II listed, retail and office complex consisting of three buildings each having three storeys and attics. Constructed of warm pink and buff coloured terracotta the ornamental designs reflect free Baroque style with swags, strap work and scrolls, with Dutch gables, domes and corner turrets.
Aura Conservation were appointed as Principle Contractor to carry out the full sympathetic restoration of the buildings 3 facades and roof works including the terracotta replacements to six roof domes. To ensure the highest quality of the project in all areas and to add value to the project the hoardings have been constructed to replicate the shop fronts and fascia’s. The external face of the scaffolding was covered by a printed wrap depicting the original façade.
Due to age and general weathering, sections of the façade and domes had begun to fail.
The façade restoration commenced with a thorough clean using the Thermatech cleaning system and a biocidal treatment applied to masonry. This was followed by a vast amount of terracotta brick replacements and restoration, including terracotta in situ repairs and stitching and removal of ferrous fixings. The terracotta facades were then fully repointed. The works also included the rebuilding of the parapet balustrades and re- bedding of copings.
The project also involved the complete dismantling and rebuilding of six of the original terracotta roof domes. Terracotta blocks were designed and produced to replicate the dome structure and original intricate detailing. One of the domes was in a better condition to the others and was therefore subject to repair work rather than full replacement with the intention of conserving the original structure.
Over 1500 terracotta blocks were produced and have been used to replace the damaged terracotta with sympathetic restoration techniques to ensure a water tight result.
In additional a large amount of lead work has been installed to projecting cornices and terracotta detailing at roof level creating water barriers to prevent future damage. Roof work carried out involved replacement of roof slates and a bird deterrent system has been installed Finally, decoration work has included the repair, restoration and decoration of a number of timber sash windows.
As Principle Contractor Aura Conservation managed a number of sub-contractors on the project including asbestos removal and scaffold contractors while also managing the city centre location issue, Aura have been thoroughly coordinating contractors and planning deliveries adhering to our robust traffic management plan.
The works were extended to include an additional area of the buildings which was not originally in the contract for restoration. Aura are delighted to be playing such a major part in the restoration of the Leeds City Centre redevelopment programme.
The main management focus of this contract was the maintenance of high quality fully managed service delivery, customer satisfaction and ensuring continuous improvement. Our customer focus is key in any contract we deliver and our excellent client feedback reflects our commitment to this. Our high quality service delivery within this contract involved:
- Weekly on site team meetings to discuss progress of the contract and problems or issues which may have arisen and to receive informal client feedback.
- Sought formal client feedback at the end of each month via our online customer survey.
- Paperwork was produced in a timely manner prior to works commencement for discussion, review and improvement.
- Additional training courses were arranged and carried out by operatives further to client recommendation.
Delivering Excellent Service – We developed a close working relationship with our client Hammersons. We would always have a member of the Aura management team on hand for this project to answer any queries, attended short notice site meetings and we had 2 site managers based on site throughout the project. Changes made to Hammersons contract and programme meant we had to re-sequence our programme and works, which we did this with no extra cost.
Delivering Quality Service – 90% of our operatives are long-term employees at Aura meaning we have a very low employee turnover rate. Our employees work to our quality procedures from our quality management system and are highly experienced in conservation.
Health & Safety – We carried out non-mandatory refresher training sessions on site for all operatives such as manual handling and asbestos awareness training. We carried out risk assessment tool box talks on site daily to encourage operatives to identify risks. We had the site visited every 2 weeks by our external H&S auditor who produced a report and a % score, a copy of this report was issued to site.
Environment – Due to the populated city centre location we carried out noise monitoring on site once a week to ensure noise produced by the works did not exceed the action levels.
Incorporated in 2006, Aura Conservation have existed for over twelve successful years. We have a sound and experienced management team. We can assist you in any of your conservation needs and have a body of long standing and experienced tradesmen we can call on with specialist knowledge of the conservation world. Along with prudent financial management, we have a sound financial foundation that will see us prosper in the coming years.
You can contact us at:
Dunham House, 181 Wellington Road North, Stockport, Cheshire, SK4 2PB. Tel. 0161 442 9850 Fax. 0161 432 8478