Visit to Bristol Beacon

25th September

On 25th September, Willmott Dixon invited Matt Elliott, Kingsley Clarke and Emma Bull of the South West team to visit the new Bristol Beacon (formerly known as Colston Hall) project.

The project is multi phased with significant structural alterations and emerging variations evolving during the demolitions and alterations. In addition, there are many stakeholders involved in the development including Bristol Music Trust, Bristol City Council, and the existing Atrium building. Keeping the neighbouring premises and local road network live during construction has presented many challenges.

The two-stage process through SCF enabled early specialist and main contractor involvement, lasting almost 9 months including collaborative cost planning and prior to the start on site, buildability, traffic, stakeholder management and risk allocation.

The site visit commenced in the original performance hall space. An immense birdcage structure of scaffolding with an absent roof and significant temporary steel structure is required to keep the existing walls in place before the permanent structure is installed. The area is vast with small references to the old building. The Site Manager, Ryan Williams, detailed the significant new installation space plans with seating, rigging, stage areas and roof structure as well as alterations to the entrance and exit routes.

The backstage areas were mostly intact and represented the areas that many famous past performers at the Hall would have used, including David Bowie, Thin Lizzy and Guns n Roses – these areas will be significantly updated and modernised, along with the creation of a new green room.

The area around the back of the basements where there is to be a new bar area included an existing impressive Victorian glass roof to be refurbished and impressive stonework.

A true illustration of partnership in practice, this challenging but exciting building has presented a few challenges along the way; including the removal for refurbishment of an organ, discovery of two wells, significant structural variations unforeseen until demolitions began and challenges due to budget constraints. The continuing development of this project has only been achieved through partnership working by all the stakeholders involved.

Built by Willmott Dixon through SCF

SCF site tour