Heritage North East & Yorkshire

Restoring Pioneer House: Phase One

Pioneer House- Halifax Road, Dewsbury, West Yorkshire

The first phase of a scheme to restore and rejuvenate the historic Pioneer House in West Yorkshire is nearing completion.

Pioneer House is a listed building situated on Halifax Road, Dewsbury. The building was built in 1872 for Dewsbury Co-Op Society and was designed by architects Henry Holtom and George Fox.

Kirklees Council officially obtained ownership of the building in July 2011, and work was undertaken to secure and assess the site shortly after.

Construction work commenced on Phase One in April 2012, with Strategic Team Group as the main contractor on the project and Aedas as lead consultant/designer. Kirklees Council is the project manager, whilst URS Limited is the structural engineer and Faithful & Gould is the CDM Coordinator.

Phase One comprises the restoration of the exterior of the building in order to make the building wind and water tight. Once the first phase is completed a second phase will take place to address the internal aspects of the building.

Pioneer House- Halifax Road, Dewsbury, West Yorkshire

Commenting on Phase One, Aedas Associate, Neil Ward, said:

“Prior to work taking place on this project, Pioneer House was falling into a state of disrepair, so the brief for Phase One was to make Pioneer House wind and watertight for the next 25 years. As a framework consultant for Kirklees Council we were brought on board the project along with Strategic Team Group to conduct the work.

Pioneer House- Halifax Road, Dewsbury, West Yorkshire

“One of the first tasks was to secure the perimeter of the site with hoardings and then prepare the site for inspection. The building had been left in a bad state, with floors stripped out and holes in the roof, so there were quite a lot of checks and balances to achieve during the initial stages to determine what we were dealing with.

“During the initial stages we also required some high level access so that we could assess the external conditions of the building. Pioneer House is a very large building, so views from the ground were quite limited.

“Once we knew exactly what was required we were able to progress in a sensitive manner.”

Phase One of the project includes some re-pointing work, a number of stone renewals/repairs and the conservation, repair and on occasion replacement of existing windows. The roofs are being completely recovered along with the replacement of all associated lead work and cast iron rainwater goods. Redecoration for timber and metal work will complete the project.

Neil said:

“At Aedas we have a wealth of experience from working on many large scale and heritage projects and we are using this experience as an insight into what we need to achieve on this project.

“This is a local scheme, with local trade people and is a very high profile site in Dewsbury.

Pioneer House- Halifax Road, Dewsbury, West Yorkshire

“Pioneer House has declined over the last seven years, which is something that local residents have voiced their concern about, so the regeneration of this building – along with the regeneration of the town centre – will create a lot of interest in Dewsbury.

“Everyone wants the project to be a success and for the area to thrive, so we will continue to work towards this goal.”

Pioneer House Phase One is currently on programme and is scheduled to reach completion in February 2013. Phase Two of the project is currently expected to commence in late 2013.

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