Realty Estates has played a pivotal role in the revitalised Manchester property scene over many years, with several well-known properties in their portfolio. We have engaged with them for many years on a range of roofing refurbishments, and the La Reserve project is the most extensive collaboration between the two companies to date. Our previous project delivery work for Realty Estates, along with our approach and experience, was the decisive factor in winning this award.
In the heart of Manchester city centre, La Reserve Aparthotel has a wide-ranging clientele, with 85 apartments and penthouses let from a few nights up to several months at a time. The building also includes a bar, dining area, meeting room and a gym, along with hosting many functions. Realty Estates had engaged several consultants to establish the severity of the issues with the property. In light of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, they wanted to find ways to resolve the cladding and construction problems, particularly around combustibility.
Based on the advice they received, a first round of tendering had taken place without a preferred contractor engaged for carrying out the necessary work. At this stage, they invited Starfish Construction into the process. After reviewing the initial examination information and undertaking our investigations, we provided an alternative solution that met the overall brief and provided cost savings against the original tender. We worked closely with Watts Group property consultants on this extensive project, collectively managing all aspects and continually communicating with the client, Realty Estates. Several factors contributed to the complexities of working on the site, including the city centre location close to Piccadilly Train Station and the site bordering the Northern Quarter and Ancoats regeneration area.
- Busy city centre location backing on to a canal
- 85 one bedroom apartments to penthouses, including hot tubs and large decked terraces
- All works carried out while the Aparthotel was occupied
- The project was in progress during COVID-19 lockdown
- Existing cladding was removed and replaced with a new non-combustible system
- Road and access management to the building has been essential and the site has operated without any issues.
Challenges and Solutions
As a typically congested city area, with elevations on two busy streets, it was compounded by the Aparthotel also backing onto the Rochdale Canal. We had to work closely with the Canal Trust highways agency to ensure works could continue with limited impact on the local traffic in this busy location. The project required various access solutions designed for minimum impact to the business, including scaffolding, Mast Climbers, Suspended Cradles and rope access.
As the Aparthotel would remain operational during the works, we needed to keep as many rooms as possible open during our programme of works. As the project progressed, COVID-19 also became a factor, and we have been working to our strict COVID-19 safety guidelines. As this was a refurbishment of an existing building that had been subject to previous works of varying sub-standards, we had to continually assess and implement any remedial work required as we stripped the current external skin. This process often revealed new issues from previous contractors, although we have worked in close communication with the client to address and deliver sustainable and safe solutions for the future. Our in-house design capability, wealth of experience in this type of construction, and expertise regarding current construction guidelines allowed us to deal with whatever we came across and quickly design a suitable solution.
The finished project will enhance this thriving area of Manchester, providing a fresh modern and safe building for many years. The project faced several delays to the initial programme due to COVID-19 and other restrictions; however, this had minimal impact on the day-to-day running of the Aparthotel, which remained operational throughout the works. Our road and access management to the building had been critical to ensuring the Aparthotel and the surrounding area remained accessible throughout.