The Grade 2*-listed Central Library, built in 1934, will have a glass and steel feature stair and lift core installed, cutting through seven floors from the top to the basement. On the ground floor will be a new public exhibition and entertainment space that will connect the library to the town hall's 1930s extension.
Previously 70% of Central Library's interior was closed to the public, used as storage space, but much of this is now being opened up.
Laing O'Rourke's contract also includes the restoration of heritage spaces including the former Rates Hall and the Gas and Electric Showrooms. These will become part of a new Customer Service Centre, public cafe and multimedia library.
The project will use Building Information Modelling (BIM), with the intention to develop a Level 4 BIM model that will be used for operation and maintenance after completion of construction works.
A significant element of project negotiations has been to ensure the works deliver immediate economic benefit to the surrounding areas, including the creation of 66 apprenticeships and a procurement model that targets local businesses.
Callum Tuckett, business unit leader for Laing O’Rourke’s Construction North, said: “I am delighted to sign the contract for this important scheme, which draws on Laing O’Rourke’s proven capability to deliver complex projects with significant engineering challenges.
“We are looking forward to taking to the next level the ethos of partnering and collaboration our organisations have nurtured over many successful projects delivered together.”
Manchester City Council head of capital programmes John Lorimer said: “This signing of this contract marks a significant milestone, not only in the transformation of these Grade 2*-listed buildings but in demonstrating our commitment to delivering first-class services to our customers.”