Tower Wharf, Birkenhead

Stunning new sustainable building at the Wirral Waters Enterprise Zone
CLIENT
Longmeadow Estates
SIZE
4,459 sqm
DATE COMPLETED
September 2015
VALUE
£8.5m
ARCHITECT
Falconer Chester Hall
SUSTAINABILITY
BREEAM Excellent

Overview

The flagship office block in the Mersey Waters Enterprise Zone saw the design and build of a 48,000 sq ft four-storey Grade A office building complete with large reception, lobby and top floor roof terrace.

The waterfront premises, designed by Falconer Chester Hall Architects, have been leased to call centre operator, The Contact Company and provides open plan office accommodation for around 800 staff.

Situated on this waterfront location this attractive structure is surrounded by extensive landscaping.  The new building takes reference from the materials and proportions of the surrounding structures.  The elevation designs are influenced by the warehouse style design yet have a contemporary contribution to make. Our supply chain partner, Leach Structural Steelwork fabricated, supplied and erected 375 tonnes of steel for the building, which reflects the industrial heritage of the area.

The 50 week scheme was the first of its kind to commence within the Mersey Waters Enterprise Zone and forms part of the 500-acre Wirral Waters regeneration scheme.

This £4.5bn programme of works will transform the Birkenhead dockland into an internationally-recognisable business and leisure destination and become one of the most sustainable Enterprise Zones in the country by reducing the reliance on car transport through connecting with the existing Merseyrail tram network.

Awards

RICS 2016 – Best Commercial Building

Insider Northwest Property Awards 2016 – Commercial Development of the Year – Highly Commended

Northern Design Awards 2016 – Commercial Build – Finalist

Civic Trust Awards 2017 – Regional Finalist

BCO Awards 2017 – Commercial Workplace – Regional Finalist

 

Key Challenges

This scheme was located on the derelict docks in Birkenhead, next to the dock, restricting access on one side.

We maintained public access to the waterfront walkway throughout the duration of the project.

The site required extensive site remediation prior to commencement of the construction works due to existing structures and rafts within the ground.

Throughout the scheme the construction team worked sensitively and with consideration towards the heritage status of the wharf.

Added Value

The construction team added value to this scheme through the use of local labour and a local supply chain.

The site maintained very good contact with the neighbours and public, issuing regular newsletters and notifying in advance of any disruptive activities and keeping these to a minimum.

The team also undertook fundraising and donations from site including for the Wildlife Trust and a local foodbank.

Client Feedback

“Longmeadow Estates have not worked with Eric Wright Construction before, but the whole construction process has been managed professionally and in a friendly, efficient manner from start to finish and our thanks go to all of the management team involved with this project. The end product speaks for itself and our thanks also go to Falconer Chester Hall, AECOM, Muir Associates, Abacus Consult and a number of other professional advisors but a special thank you must go to Eric Wright Construction and I can confirm that we would have no hesitation in working alongside them again in the future.”
Karl Bergh
Managing Director, Longmeadow Estates Limited

Sustainability

Sustainability has been a central theme of the development. Tower Wharf has been constructed on brownfield former dockland and managing the environmental impact of the scheme was paramount from the outset, with ecological reports carried out to assess the flora and fauna at the site.

The largely glass façades provide stunning views across the waterfront and also maximise natural light, reducing the reliance on electrical lighting within the offices and creating a feeling of space for the high occupancy building.

Brise soleil have been incorporated onto a single façade, to reduce solar gain on the south facing side of the building and lesson the cooling load requirements.

Internally, custom-specified blinds have also been installed on the south facing façade. These blinds feature specialist heat reflective fabric that maximises heat during the winter and reduces solar gain in the summer, along with perforations that ensure that the vistas are maintained despite the window coverings.

At the heart of Tower Wharf’s energy efficiency is its building services installation, with an efficient heating and cooling system, controlled and monitored by a programmable Building Management System (BMS), which also logs and monitors the building services aligned to the occupier’s needs producing accessible data as graphs.

Due to the high occupancy levels, the cooling load for the building is significant and heat recovery has been built into the system via VRF fan coil units on each floor. A total of eight Mitsubishi air conditioning roof-mounted condenser units have been installed for the building, each powered by a dedicated air source heat pump.

Two heat recovery air handling units have also been installed on the roof and these had to be designed in a low height, double decker configuration to conform to planning requirements.

Two gas fired water heaters have also been installed to provide the energy for the central core radiators and the domestic hot water supply is heated by a further two gas fired water heaters.

The high levels of natural light coming into the building during sunlight hours reduce the amount of electric light needed within Tower Wharf and a lighting system made up almost entirely of low wattage LED fittings builds on this energy efficient profile.

In addition to prioritising low energy consumption, the building has also been designed to reduce the amount of energy required from the grid with a solar PV installation linking high quality roof-mounted panels with two transformerless inverters with a combined 25kW capacity.

The building’s south facing position has influenced this element of the design, with an installation positioned to maximise the available solar energy to provide and estimated output of around 50,000kWh over the course of a year, approximately half of which will be fed into the grid.

Get in Touch

For all enquiries, please get in touch with the team here at Eric Wright.