A topping out ceremony has marked a major milestone in the new UK Government hub planned for New Waverley in Edinburgh.
Some 2,900 civil service workers will be based at the seven-level office scheme, which comprises two interlinked buildings.
The UK Government announced last year that it will relocate 2,900 jobs to the new regional hub by 2020 under the terms of a 25-year lease. This includes HMRC, which will operate one of its 13 regional centres from New Waverley. The hub will function as the Scottish base for several government bodies, including the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland, the Office of the Advocate General, the Competition and Markets Authority, the Office for Statistics Regulation, the Government Actuary’s Department and HM Treasury. Staff from the Health and Safety Executive and the Information Commissioner’s Office will also be based here.
Neil Richardson, commercial director, Government Property Agency said, “This new flagship building is part of our radical upgrade of the civil service, and will support a diverse and creative workforce as they make a real difference to the lives of people living in Scotland. The hub will provide high quality, skilled jobs right in the heart of the city centre as well as contributing significantly to the local economy.”
Clive Wilding, project director for developers Artisan added, “Bringing the UK Government hub right into the historic heart of Edinburgh is a ringing endorsement for what we are building here – not just for New Waverley, but for the city of Edinburgh and for Scotland. It sends out an important message that our city centres have the interest, value and capacity to attract investment from the very best employers, setting an important precedent for Edinburgh and the rest of Scotland
“For New Waverley, it’s another significant step of our journey to restore life, vitality and energy to this very special part of Edinburgh’s historic city centre, and will be a natural fit for the exciting and vibrant mixed-use community we are creating here.”
New Waverley contractors, McAleer & Rushe, are scheduled to complete the commercial phase by summer 2019.
Construction of the two interlinked office buildings brought challenges, including overcoming a 40 ft. gradient which runs from the Royal Mile down into the Waverley Valley. This means both buildings are built into the side of the hill, with the ground floor access into the public plaza on one side becoming the building’s second level further down the slope.
The buildings have a large concrete frame composed of 15,000 cubic metres of concrete, all of which was non pre-fabricated and poured on site. The facades will be clad in Stanton Moor buff sandstone.
Shane McCullagh, contracts director from McAleer & Rushe said, “This strategically important landmark building provides a spectacular focal point and destination for the wider New Waverley development. It’s a challenging development to complete, especially considering its unique location at the heart of Edinburgh’s UNESCO World Heritage site, but one that is being delivered on time, on budget and with the highest safety standards.
“Now that we have ‘Topped Out’ the office buildings, the true mass, vision and scope of the entire New Waverley masterplan is now apparent, and it’s a fitting testament to our team on site and the whole development team that so much has been achieved in a relatively short timescale.”