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Demolition of the central library

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Birmingham volunteers, David Lloyd and Adrian Turner, hosted a very informative city- centric CPD event again in April resulting in another full house.  Over several years, we have been successful in encouraging a number of construction and engineering project managers to discuss how they are delivering major projects in the city centre.  Last year, we saw the opening of the new award-winning Birmingham Library which had been the subject of 3 events during the project life cycle.  It was therefore considered logical to offer a related event on the demolition of the nearby old central library.  The old library sits in the centre of a major highway gyratory and also allows thousands of pedestrians every day direct access to the city centre avoiding any crossings.

Constructed in the 1970s as an example of brutalistic architecture, it can be safe to say that it never achieved overwhelming public support and was also occupying some of the most important redevelopment land in the city centre.  The opportunity arose to create 1.5million sq. ft. of office and retail space, whilst creating new areas of public realm and improved walking/cycling links through the city centre.  This development was consistent with Birmingham’s vision to become a world class city over the next 20 years and after several years of planning and securing the necessary funding, work has started on this 10 year project.

Clive Bartlam and Steve Fisher explained the great difficulties in planning both the demolition and concurrent development works whilst also maintaining public access through the site at all times.  Whereas most projects would be challenged sufficiently to deliver one of those work streams in isolation, delivering all three in tandem requires an enormous input from the various project teams employed on this development.  The use of 4D 360 degree computer graphics clearly explained the phasing of the project and architectural stills showed each elevation at it will appear in 2025.
Clive and Steve ran through the enormous stakeholder engagement/communications strategy to ensure that millions of West Midlands residents and commuters are advised of the impact of this project particularly on the city centre highway network.  Not only is the gyratory changing in shape and access, a major new electricity mains supply is being brought through the city centre to bring in sufficient power to meet the demand from all the new buildings.  The usual channels are being used such as leaflets but local radio and social media are also being employed to ensure the messages are received by the largest audience possible.

This session was highly engaging for everyone who attended and there will be further sessions on this development in 2017 when Phase 1 should be near to completion.

More information is available at


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