Belfast Telegraph

Graham wins £25m contract to give BBC building a sustainable future

BBC Broadcasting House on Belfast’s Ormeau Avenue
BBC Broadcasting House on Belfast’s Ormeau Avenue
Ryan McAleer

By Ryan McAleer

Co Down construction firm Graham has been awarded a £25m contract to redevelop the BBC’s Broadcasting House site in Belfast.

It’s part of a £77m investment approved by the BBC board in March 2018 to transform the technology and facilities at the listed Ormeau Avenue building.

The BBC said the investment addresses “critical deficiencies” in the long-term sustainability of its Belfast sites.

Built during the Second World War, the work will mark the first major refurbishment of Broadcasting House since the 1980s.

It comes in a week when the Hillsborough-based builder announced pre-tax profits of £8.2m for the year to March 31, 2019.

Although 37% down on its 2018 performance, Graham reported a 12 month turnover of £735m and an order book worth £1.2bn.

The company specialises in building, civil engineering, interior fit-out, facilities management and investment projects. It has around 2,000 employees. Its pipeline of work includes the £15m Victoria Terminal 2 project at Belfast Harbour and the 717-bed student accommodation block it is building at York Street in Belfast.

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Graham has also just completed a £33m project for the mental health centre at Belfast City Hospital. The company’s executive chairman Michael Graham (below) said that the builder remains in a strong financial position.

“Our focused approach to work-winning has accounted for our current order book of £1.2bn together with a strong presence in multiple frameworks, which will help maintain the group’s healthy balance between public and private work,” he said.

The BBC has said that the redevelopment of Broadcasting House has been designed to create “an accessible and flexible space that enables greater content production and interaction with the audience”. It’s set to be constructed and linked to the existing building.

It will include the creation of a new plaza space adjacent to the new building, which the BBC explained “will open out as a new entrance to the BBC and the city”.

The BBC said it is supporting Belfast City Council’s vision of Broadcasting House acting as a gateway to the City Hall.

Graham’s contract officially began on June 17, but was only announced by the BBC on Monday. It is expected to involve a 4.5 month pre-construction phase.

The construction contract is due to run from December 2019 to January 2023.

A BBC spokesperson confirmed the Graham had successfully tendered for the provision of pre-construction services.

“Submission of tenders for other phases when required will be announced in due course.”

Belfast Telegraph