Dubbed the ‘greenest public building in the UK’, the new Brent Civic Centre will open in 2013.
On 29th June 2012, a topping out ceremony was held to celebrate the first step towards completion. Brent Council Leader, Councillor Muhammed Butt, donned a hard hat during the ceremony, which was also attended by Paul Chandler, Executive Vice-President of main contractor, Skanska UK.
The £100 million building has been designed by Hopkins Architects and will eventually house up to 2,000 Brent Council staff, along with event facilities for up to 1,000 people. In addition to a public garden with community art displays, the Civic Centre will incorporate a new library and learning resource centre, along with retail outlets and spaces to socialise.
Further facilities will include a Registrar’s Office, Community Hall and Council Chamber. Car-parking and motorcycle-parking spaces will be available in the basement, whilst the site will also incorporate 250 bicycle-parking spaces and charging points for electronic cars.
Managing Director of Hopkins Architects, Bill Taylor, commented: “This is a major new London project for us – a terrific opportunity to bring together administrative and civic functions in a new world-class building.”
Situated on Engineers Way, opposite Wembley Stadium and Wembley Arena, the new Brent Civic Centre is in the heart of the Wembley regeneration area. In addition to the nine-storey, 40,000 sq metre Civic Centre, Wembley City will also include a new Hilton Hotel, the largest cinema in Europe and the only designer retail outlet in London.
It is estimated that modernising and centralising the council services and spaces from their current 14 sites will save approximately £2.5 million per year, whilst the Civic Centre will provide opportunities to generate an annual income of up to £9.7 million – which will in turn be spent on services in the borough.
Civic Centre Programme Director at Brent Council, Aktar Choudhury, said:
“This scheme will form an important part of one of the UK’s most exciting regeneration projects in a prominent setting opposite Wembley Stadium. We are seeking to create a community centrepiece in the heart of a modern development, and we are determined to build the UK’s greenest building.”
Work began onsite in November 2010 and the building is expected to be open and fully operational by June 2013. During the course of construction, job and work experience opportunities are expected to be created for local people, whilst local business have also had the chance to bid for contracts.
One of the most important aspects of the project is the incorporation of sustainable technologies. Brent Council’s current buildings are inefficient, expensive to maintain and unfit for purpose. The new Brent Civic Centre hopes to combat this through a combination of solar shading, natural ventilation, façade performance and combined cooling, heating and power using vegetable oil.
Further sustainable approaches include water conservation, the monitoring of water run-off and the installation of flood defence systems. In addition, waste will be reduced and recycled, whilst sustainable and fairly traded products will be transported using environmentally friendly methods. As a result of the sustainable technologies, carbon emissions are expected to be reduced by 33%.
Internationally renowned construction company Skanska UK was appointed to build the new Brent Civic Centre following a competitive tender process. The company celebrates an extensive portfolio that includes London landmarks such as 30 St Mary Axe (‘The Gherkin’) and the construction of Royal London Hospital. Skanska UK have won a number of awards for their commitment to sustainable construction, including an Area Based Regeneration Award in 2008 and the European Business Award for the Environment in 2010. In addition, the company was named ‘Industry Leader’ in the Sunday Times Best Green Companies Award 2010.
A1 Flue Systems
For almost 40 years, A1 Flue Systems has specialised in the manufacture of bespoke stainless steel flues and chimneys for the commercial sector. Over the years A1 Flue Systems has worked on a number of high-profile projects including the Gherkin, King’s Cross Station, St Pancras and HM Prison Belmarsh.
Working on the Brent Civic Centre project, A1 Flue Systems is supplying one flue for use in a combined heat and power (CHP) exhaust, located within the basement plant room.
The Senior Managers of A1 Flue Systems, said:
“At A1 Flue Systems we are most proud of the fact that we are specialist flue manufacturers and not stockists. All of our work is tailor made and made to order.
“We are market leaders and our portfolio of work covers all aspects of the commercial sector, from water treatment works and prisons, to schools, universities and hospitals.”