Ogden’s clock tower – M&E spotlight

North West building and maintenance specialist HMS is delivering a £3.1m project to transform the Grade II listed Ogden’s clock tower in North Liverpool into 19 affordable rent apartments for client Liverpool Mutual Homes.

As the project nears completion, we focus the spotlight on the landmark development’s electrical and mechanical installations– showcasing the full rewire and utilities that are providing 21st century infrastructure within the carefully preserved Victorian building.

The contract

When HMS arrived on site, the iconic Ogden’s clock tower was in a poor state of repair and required a complete overhaul. The team was tasked with full design and upgrade of the entire outdated mechanical and electrical system. The new comprehensive mechanical and electrical solution included:

  • New communal and district heating system, incorporating innovative heat Interface units to each dwelling
  • Full bathroom suites
  • New drainage systems
  • Lighting and Power
  • Submain installation
  • Data cables
  • CCTV
  • Door entry
  • Smoke and fire alarm

A bespoke and comprehensive approach was required to ensure all works were approached sensitively, conserving the Grade II listed building’s many original features and Victorian period exterior. This has included:

  • Carefully concealing cable and pipe work routing throughout the clock tower - beneath the timber flooring at ground level and within the ceiling void on the first floor
  • Planning the mechanical and electrical infrastructure around the original features - large feature windows in each apartment, for example, meant that the team were given smaller service voids than usual for cables to run through
  • Siting all external fixtures away from public view - including the new satellite dish and fire/smoke detection systems, adhering to conservation requirements
  • Installing multiple sockets, utilities and down-lighters in each apartment – ensuring residents benefit from modern living at all times

Overcoming challenges

Multiple challenges were overcome early on. The team started out without full knowledge of the condition of the existing mechanical and electrical installation, effectively meaning they were going in blind. The age of the building also threw up unforeseen issues including the prospect of asbestos inside wiring and pipe work routes, which initially slowed down the project.

In total, over 10 miles of new wires and pipe work have been installed by the team, with all works overseen and signed off by the Conservation Officer.

Despite all challenges faced, the £300,000 project is on programme and within budget, ensuring that work on the 19 new homes can continue without issue.

Kyle Spinks, M&E Team Manager at HMS for this project, said, “Taking a well thought out approach has been vital during both preparation and installation works at Ogden’s clock tower. With a traditional build you know what to expect, but I’m proud that my team has been able to tackle all the challenges we faced without slowing down the build.

“In years to come, whenever I drive past the site, I’ll always think ‘we were involved in that’!”

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