BakerHicks has concluded the structural engineering design to make Perth and Kinross Council’s historic headquarters “fit for purpose”.
The firm said the work involved “delicate” work to repair and restore the facade of the building, which was initially constructed in 1899. Structural works included installing a new staircase to the rear of the building, the incorporation of floor infills to the existing atrium and voids left by the removal of staircases, and the removal of walls to create open plan office space.
BakerHicks also designed structural openings in existing masonry walls to help achieve the open plan layouts and the structure for the new external ramp, providing disabled access to the front of the building.
Working with stonemasons Gillies and Farrell Masonry, the firm also advised on work to pin and repair cracks in the masonry, using a combination of steel rods and a vinyl ester resin. Cracking to existing floor slabs was repaired using epoxy resin systems.
Andy Gotts, BakerHicks’ director for civil and structural engineering said, “The aim of the refurbishment is to preserve the building and make it fit for purpose now and in the future. In doing so we had to put ourselves in the minds of the Victorian engineers who built it, and factor into our calculations the strength of steel and concrete of the period, including converting the imperial measurements used at the time into metric units.
“We are delighted to have played a key role in delivering a contemporary, flexible building that is in keeping with Perth’s fast-growing reputation as a modern city with exciting ambitions. It has also been an excellent learning experience for the team, further extending our knowledge of historic construction methods and specialist repairs to concrete floors and sandstone façades.”