Greenough & Sons Roofing Contractors has scooped up a £1.5m contract to upgrade roof slate and timbers at the town hall undergoing a £330m refurbishment.
The contract for the first phase of roofing work is to include removing and replacing 30,000 sq ft of Cumbrian roof slate, update roof timbers, replace 65 tonnes of leadwork and refurbish glazed skylights at the grade one-listed Manchester Town Hall.
The fresh slate will be sourced from the same Burlington slate quarry that was used in the structure’s original build 150 years ago, while the old lead work will be melted down and reincorporated into the building’s ongoing restoration, according to Greenough, a specialist roofing and restoration business based in Anglesey.
The firm was awarded the job by Lend Lease, the main contractor delivering the high-profile refurbishment project led by Manchester City Council. The roofing work is due to start in the autumn and take 62 weeks to complete.
Originally completed in 1877, Manchester Town Hall was designed by acclaimed architect Alfred Waterhouse, who also designed London’s Natural History Museum.
After initial delays due to Covid-19, work began last July to significantly refurbish the historic city centre property. The first phase includes the full restoration of parts of the building including the Great Hall, as well as the refurbishment and reparation of the building’s external fabric, windows and roof.
Accessibility improvements are also planned, together with the creation of a visitor centre within the town hall, while public realm improvements are being made to Albert Square outside the town hall. The start of the £330m project was delayed several months last year because of pandemic-related delays and also the discovery of peregrine falcons nesting in the clock tower.
As a result, the project completion date has been pushed back to 2024, from 2023, and the cost of the main construction contract has risen to £214m from £190m.
Greenough’s win represents the largest single project in the family-owned business’s 50-year history. The company has delivered other historically sensitive roofing projects across Wales and the North West, including work as part of the restoration of Chester Town Hall completed in 2011.
Director of Greenough Jonathan Greenough said: “Our growing success in the heritage market has, over the years, been inextricably linked to our unique knowledge and skill with Welsh slate. But a contract of this size, complexity and character on an iconic Manchester building demonstrates how we have evolved as a business.
“As well as undertaking the roofing work, we’re also excited at the prospect of sharing our roofing and restoration heritage knowledge with the local community. When restoring a building of this age, we often have to draw on skills that have changed very little in centuries, so it’s our intention to work with LendLease to ensure local people, and construction and heritage enthusiasts, have the opportunity to experience first-hand techniques such as slate cutting and lead bossing.”