Collaboration and Early Contractor Engagement Key to Chester Storyhouse Success

During the recent client visit to Storyhouse, Graham Lister, Project Director of Storyhouse Chester emphasised that the £31m city centre scheme could not have been delivered without partnership working. The arts and cultural facility is the first part of the regeneration of Chester City Centre, and aims to bring £16m of economic benefit to a city which had no cinema, theatre or art gallery, but had over 370,000 theatre-goers within a 30 minute drive of the site.

Project summary:
• City centre site; restricted access and on a one-way street
• Restoration of Grade II Listed Odeon building (un-used since 2007) – involvement of Historic England
• Includes new 800 and 500 seat theatres, cinema, 2 bars, restaurant and library – these are integrated facilities for the community
• 5 month enabling works package including a 2-month archaeological dig for Roman remains under the new theatre
• Early Contractor engagement provided added value to the project, including the integration of end user flexibility and specialist acoustic requirements into the design
• Extensive pre-construction community consultation with 850 people attending public consultation events
• A collaborative design team of 14 individual companies, working with a ‘One-Team’ ethos with local authority parties such as Fire, Building Control and Highways
• A thrust stage was a key element of the theatre design, with space underneath to store 300 seats
• 23 apprentices and 293 apprentice weeks; 6 of which found permanent employment as a result of working on the project

Dane Harrop, Senior Design Manager for Kier, showed a series of images comparing the original design intent for the building to the finished product. They were remarkably similar; the constructor partner had delivered almost exactly true to the original concept of the scheme.

The quality of the spaces and finishes were commented on by everyone on the tour, along with the great welcoming feel of the building. Visitor numbers have already surpassed targets, and it’s not hard to see why people come to this beautiful building.

Download the project Case Study here.

This project was commissioned under the NWCH’s High Value Construction Framework 2010-2014 by Cheshire West and Chester Council. Watch why the NWCH was chosen below:

More on this project:

Time Lapse of Stage Change

Time Lapse of Cinema Box Construction

General Video of Construction

NWCH Tour Gallery

Featured image copyright Peter Cook, tour photos by the NWCH team

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