The Hold


Our client has asked for a flagship heritage facility to hold Suffolk’s archives securely and provide a welcome facility for the public.

This project aims to contribute in a positive manner to the regeneration of the Ipswich waterfront area. As Employer’s Agent we worked closely with the client and end users to understand fully their requirements and key project risks from an early stage. This working relationship has continued throughout all stages of the project.

Key Info

Business Case, New Build, Demolition

£16 million

Ipswich, Suffolk

85 weeks

Suffolk County Council – Adult and Community Services

R G Carter

July 2020

Client Design Advisor, Employers Agent, Project Management




The Client Advisor’s roles and responsibilities were delivered via a multi-disciplinary team, ensuring all aspects of the project were supported.

Due to the funding arrangements we undertook a careful review of the project finances and assisted with applications to the Heritage Lottery Fund. We established rigorous cost control procedures and ensured the design was strictly monitored against the agreed cost plan. Any difficulties have been rectified and the approved cost limit has been maintained. We also attended the Heritage Lottery Fund monitoring meetings every three months to provide updates on the project and its progress.

The location of the project (on a live university site) resulted in making recommendations to the client on the need for site investigations and holding engagement sessions with all parties that would be affected by the project. We carried on these regular meetings with the Design and Construction team, the client and stakeholders (Suffolk County Council and the university) throughout the works over the three years to keep everyone updated and informed of progress.

Through our role as Employer’s Agent we have steered the project and supported the client through challenges associated with funding and a tight urban site within the centre of Ipswich. We have ensured the project execution plan has been followed and the project was in line with the employer’s requirements, as well as meeting the client’s expectations of a new flagship public building. As Client Design Advisor we were appointed to review independently the proposals put forward by the design team. We needed to make sure the Design and Build Contractor met the client’s employer requirements and complied with necessary legislation.

During the Stage 3 submission we identified some areas of the design which had insufficient detail to enable the client to sign off the work stage and progress the design. We presented a report to the client which proved the design team needed to provide revised information. This removed client risk and potential claims for an additional cost at a later date.

The Hold Ipswich Yellow Staircase
The Hold, Ipswich Space


“The support from Concertus for The Hold has been outstanding; from initial feasibility through to construction and fit-out, they have helped us every step of the way, fulfilling multiple roles and ensuring the project’s success. The end result is a stunning addition to both the Ipswich waterfront and Suffolk’s heritage assets.”

Amy Rushton, Programme Manager, The Hold


The Hold will be the headquarters for the county’s records office and will allow the public to explore 900 years of national and international archive material.

Despite delays to the project as a result of COVID-19, construction progressed well to ensure the university facilities were ready for the return of students in September 2020. The new seminar rooms and 200-seat lecture theatre have provided the University of Suffolk with extra teaching spaces for the increasing number of students. In addition to housing state-of-the-art university facilities, The Hold will be the headquarters for the county’s records office and will allow the public to explore 900 years of national and international archive material. From 28th September the public were able to access the exhibition gallery, archive-inspired displays, shop, café, toilets and changing facilities. This unique purpose-built facility has helped to regenerate the waterfront area and will benefit the local community and future generations.

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