The Hold

“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 Brief:
Our client has asked for a flagship heritage facility to securely hold Suffolk’s archives 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.

The Scope:
As Employer’s Agent we worked closely with the client and end users to fully understand their requirements and key project risks from an early stage. This working relationship has continued throughout all stages of the project.

Due to the funding arrangements we undertook a careful review of the project finances and assisted with applications to the Heritage Lottery funding agency. 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 both the Construction and Design team, and the client and stakeholders (Suffolk County Council and the university) during the progress of the works over the three years to inform, educate and give progress updates. Good communication has been essential to the successful outcome of this project.

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

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 additional cost at a later date.

Working alongside other members of the project team, we were able to carry out the below tasks effectively:

  • Consult key stakeholders to identify significant project issues.
  • Identify and develop the most appropriate procurement strategy for completing the project on time, to budget and to the quality required.
  • Ensure that the project is compliant with the original brief to ensure the client is getting what they originally asked for. Where changes are unavoidable, divergences or modifications will be agreed and reported as necessary.
  • Aid preparation of a full project brief, output specification and sustainability goals.
  • Manage the invitation and evaluation of tenders from design and construction teams.
  • Check budgets, design proposals, construction details and project documentation.
  • Technical advisory services during the construction phase of the programme.

The Result:
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.