British Library Boston Spa - Wates

British Library Boston Spa

Project overview

The British Library redevelopment at Boston Spa, West Yorkshire, involves the construction of a new 28m high, 5274m2 ground-breaking, fully automated net zero carbon archive building which will feature a public viewing gallery and 220km of extra shelf space together with an extensive renovation of the nearby 1970s Brutalist-style Urquhart Building for the library’s 550 on-site staff, including a new reading room, restaurant and café for visitors.

The 45-week PCSC (pre-construction services consultant) role will see Wates working alongside the client’s design team up to RIBA Stage 4 with services engineer, Buro Happold and London-based, architectural practice, Carmody Groarke.

View of the new storage vault from the public viewing gallery. Credit: Carmody Groake.

Sustainability will be an integral feature of this ambitious programme, including the creation of new and improved green spaces to support biodiversity and enhance the natural environment surrounding the site.

Working in close collaboration with its design team partners, Wates will work with its supply chain to help develop the design and accurately cost the project so that at the end of the 45-week period the final contract price can be agreed.

During this early phase, the contractor will also use its tried and tested approach to creating airtight buildings by constructing large-scale prototypes. These will be used to test the design theories needed to fulfil the exacting sustainability criteria – in the case of the new build, to achieve BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ and Passivhaus Accredited ratings, while the renovated Urquhart Building has been designed to achieve BREEAM ‘Excellent’.

Key Facts:

  • 40-week Professional Services Contract period
  • New archive building 28m high and 80m long, 5274m2 ground-breaking, fully automated net zero carbon
  • Ambitious Social Value investment
  • 90 week main contract duration leading to completion early 2024
“This is a significant milestone for our Boston Spa site, which will transform the accessibility of our collections and services to people nationally. We look forward to working with our design team to deliver vital facilities that will support the growth of the national collection and open up access to a new generation of visitors.”
Phil Spence
Chief Operating Officer, British Library

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