City Hall has undergone an 18-month refurbishment as part of Bristol City Council’s programme to work more efficiently and significantly reduce its operational costs.
The refurbishment, which has finished on time and within budget, is part of the council’s ‘invest to save’ Bristol Workplace Programme that will realise £50m net savings over the course of the programme.
The programme also includes reducing the council’s office estate from 38 buildings to two city centre hubs at City Hall and 100 Temple Street. Council running costs will be significantly reduced by managing a smaller estate of buildings; buildings no longer required will be sold realising useful capital receipts; and greater use of technology will help council staff work more efficiently and effectively.
Working closely with Historic England and conservation specialists, the refurbishment of City Hall, which is Grade II listed, has focused on maintaining the building’s historical features while updating office space and improving the building’s exterior and public spaces.
Renovation works have seen the amount of office space quadruple. Previously the building held 500 staff, it now has capacity for 2,100 council workers. The working areas have been designed to enable greater collaboration between council teams, helping them provide efficient, quality services that meet the changing needs of the city and its citizens.
Council staff have started moving back into City Hall with more teams arriving over the next 12 months. The council’s Annual General Meeting, a key date in the council’s calendar, will take place in the refurbished Council Chamber on 31 May. Regular council meetings will be held in City Hall from July.
Councillor Craig Cheney Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “The City Hall refurbishment is integral to the council’s programme to meet challenging budget savings targets. By reducing our estate and using technology to streamline and speed up our work, we will reduce costs and can deliver better value for the city and its citizens.
“This, of course, is just one part of a much wider efficiency drive to ensure Bristol rises to the challenge of improving services while saving money.
“City Hall has been at the centre of democracy and city life in Bristol for 60 years. It’s great to see this iconic building updated and modernised to make it fit for the delivery of 21st century local government.”
Improving City Hall’s green credentials was also a priority during the refurbishment – which began in November 2014 – with more than 90% of the waste generated during the works having been recycled.
New LED lights have been installed throughout along with an energy efficient heating system. These measures will reduce energy consumption by 80% – the equivalent of 450 tonnes of Co2 a year with an estimated annual saving of £75,000.
New facilities at City Hall will also encourage both officers and councillors to use automated and digital systems, moving toward a more paperless style of working.
The works were undertaken by a number of contractors, including local firms Alec French Architects and Collecteco.