Stoke-on-Trent City Council has appointed Morgan Sindall Construction to erect a £5.4m extension for the city’s Potteries Museum and Art Gallery
The new extension to the Potteries Museum will be used to house the iconic Spitfire RW388, following its removal from the public eye for restoration in 2018.
Plans for the extension include a 3,800 square foot building complete with specialised new structural glazing, which will enable the Spitfire to be viewed from outside the museum.
The main contractor will also carry out a light refurbishment to the existing 4,200 square foot café, including internal improvements to the walls, ceilings, and floor finishes. The café will be fully operational upon the completion of the new gallery.
Enabling works began in early March and the main contract is now progressing well in line with government guidelines on safe operation.
The site team is currently focused on the foundations for the build. The majority of the city sits upon the ex-North Staffordshire Coalfield. Over the past five months, the team has worked to remove any obstructions from beneath the surface, as well as filling in any visible coal seams.
Steelwork is set to begin in early autumn, when the external frame for the building will begin to take shape.
Implementing social value alongside construction
Morgan Sindall Construction was appointed to deliver the project through the SCAPE Regional Construction framework, which is aimed at facilitating high-quality projects across the Midlands and East of England.
As part of this framework, the main contractor will ensure that at least a fifth of the project’s investment fee is matched by social value contributions which will benefit the local community.
Upon the Potteries Museums reopening, the project team will visit nearby schools offering educational sessions about careers in construction and the Spitfire legacy, inspiring the next generation.
A film about the history of the plane and its special relationship with the city will be used within the museum itself to serve as an educational film. It will be developed by the local council and other consultants alongside Morgan Sindall Construction.
Inspiring the next generation of innovators and engineers
Rob Cant, Scape regional construction framework director at Morgan Sindall Construction, said: “Throughout the turbulence of the past few months, we have seen more than ever the importance of our local communities.
“We are proud to be involved in such an important scheme for both the city’s wider economic offering and its own regional heritage, while also serving as a clear inspiration to the next generation of innovators and engineers.
“Work is progressing well thanks to a diverse and highly-skilled local supply chain we’re collaborating with on this project and we look forward to seeing it come out of the ground in the months ahead.”
Scape Group chief executive, Mark Robinson, said: “The Spitfire is a symbol of ingenuity, agility and endeavour that continues to make a significant contribution to Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire’s £1.7bn visitor economy.
“It’s a pleasure to see The Potteries Museum & Arts Gallery, Morgan Sindall Construction and Perfect Circle united under these principles to bring this powerful story to a new generation.”
Perfect Circle has been appointed as the city council’s multi-disciplinary construction consultant through Scape Group’s Built Environment Consultancy Services (BECS) framework to deliver all services, including project management, quantity surveying, engineering.
Perfect Circle managing director, Victoria Brambini, added: “As well as bringing vibrancy to the community and delivering tangible value through the creation of local jobs, the project will see the iconic Spitfire return to its rightful resting place – in the city where its original designer was born and raised, on display for all to see.”
Construction is expected to be completed on the project in spring 2021.