Refurbishment of Crown Buildings - Highly Commended Project of the Year 2023 

Wrexham County Borough Council

Highly Commended Project of the Year 2023
Project Overview

The Project aim:-

Transform an inefficient 1960’s facility into a modern office with a refurbishment that reduces energy demand and waste while maximising the supply of renewable energy.

Provide a co-located base for social care and education staff to deliver seamless, children and adult services with the creation of a Community Health and Well Being Area.

Deliver a new Well Being Hub to deliver a multi-partner approach providing opportunities for creative joint working between agencies. Working co-productively with partners, stakeholders and citizens, the aim being to design a space which will improve people’s access to community and specialist services.

Project Name Refurbishment of Crown Buildings
Project Location Project Location Crown Buildings, Chester Street, Wrexham.
Project Start Date 5th October 2020
Practical Completion 16th November 2021
Project Value £5,276,409.00
QS/Cost Consultant SP Projects Ltd
Structural Engineer Caulmert Ltd
Electrical/Mechanical Engineer Davies Partnership Ltd
Contractor Read Construction Ltd
Building Control Wrexham County Borough Council
Architect Ainsley Gommon Architects

The Refurbishment of Crown Buildings was a 2-stage, £5.3m Design and Build Project for the refurbishment and extension of the Councils existing 4-storey 1960’s building.

The design of the building significantly improved the buildings energy performance which was a key driver for the scheme from the outset as it helped to tackle the Carbon crisis whilst extending the lifespan of the existing structure (and its embodied carbon) whilst maximising the supply of renewable energy.


The Crown Buildings project stands out from the crowd in Wrexham Council’s dedication to their Net Zero ambition – transforming an outdated and inefficient 1960’s facility into a modern office by focussing on a fabric first refurbishment that reduces energy demand and waste.


This was achieved with new build levels of thermal performance including u-values and air permeability.


The project demonstrates a whole team approach to sustainable solutions tackling the operational impacts of the existing building stock.

Savings Through Refurbishment of Crown Buildings:-

‘Cost’ of demolition:

    • 2,000m3 Concrete Waste
    • 3,500kgCO2 from demolition
    • 4,350kgCO2 from recycling
    • 350 HGV journeys
    • 37,700kgCO2 travel carbon
    • Concrete = 590T CO2
    • Steel = 300T CO2

The Fabric first approach was key in this projects success.   By exceeding Part L compliance, the thermal performance of the building envelope helped reduce the heating demand by 66% with a further 25% reduction in energy demand from the electrical installations.  

This multi storey scheme showcases how energy efficiency can be incorporated which primarily relies on passive measures – of increasing significance where the internal floor area far exceeds the building footprint, thus limiting the floor area to PV ratio for renewable energy generation through photovoltaic solutions.

Operational Efficiency:-

Existing building D rated EPC = 276T carbon emissions / year
Completed project A rated = 60T carbon emissions / year
Energy demand down to 114kWh/m2/year from 210kWh/m2/year
New build equivalent U-Values 0.18 roof and walls
New build beating air tightness of 2.66m3/h.m2@50 pascals

Crown Buildings’ energy efficient focus is important as we head to be carbon neutral by 2030 and the refurbishment of the building has transformed a dated facility into one we can now be proud of and will replicate the model in future projects.

This project also embraces the Councils move towards Modern Ways of Working (MWOW which is transforming the Council’s working practices and this project has helped towards delivering on the ‘Working Environment’ theme which looks at a shift away from the traditional workspace, making use of alternative workspaces.

Ensuring the planning and design of the work environment adapts to the changing nature of work and the different reasons why people gather in workplaces, through aspects such as office design, facilities, work place polices and building management, which will contribute to improved staff well-being in the workplace

The building now embraces the Councils move towards Modern Ways of Working with the requirement of opening up our buildings, providing breakout space, new furniture, upgrading our ICT infrastructure and having access to hybrid meeting rooms which are now essential to the way the Council wishes its staff to work and this approach was a key consideration throughout the design of the project.

The building and furniture layouts of the office accommodation floors within Crown Buildings embrace the Council’s move to Modern Ways of Working and will enable employees to work in a flexible way, with a mix of home working, being out and about on visits across the County Borough, as well as being in the workplace.

The types of workspaces include breakout areas for collaborative working, PODs for 1-1 or small group discussions and quiet space, desks with monitors for longer periods of desk work, meeting rooms with video conferencing capabilities and staff recreation space.

The variety of workspaces within Crown Buildings are designed to suit the needs of the teams working from there, with a principle that space is allocated to activities rather than individuals.

This approach and design is already being replicated through our next phase of refurbishment works through our office accommodation review and will continue through all future phases.

Added value to this project is provided by the development of the new Wellbeing Hub to the ground floor.

The new “Wellbeing Hub is a bold multi-partner project providing opportunities for increasingly creative and ambitious joint working between all agencies. Working co-productively with partners, stakeholders and citizens, the aim to design a space which will improve people’s access to community and specialist services, building on rather than duplicating what is already available in Wrexham city centre and other locality areas.

The Well Being Hub will provide integrated health, social care, third sector and community services; improving access to information and advice and delivering preventative and alternative solutions to care and support in a safe environment, with accessible facilities for all ages and abilities.

The Hub will act as the central location of a range of accessible facilities, enabling people and families with wide ranging support needs to better engage with community services.

With improved access to professional and statutory services due to the added value of having operational staff based at the same site; the central locality of Crown Buildings, access to public transport and other centrally located services make it a prime spot for providing the space to enable people, families and carers to develop their own care and support solutions as well as promoting city centre rejuvenation and investment.

We have created an inclusive space with better access to a wider range of accessible information and advice; enabling people and families to design their solutions around what matters to them, reducing inequalities in care and support and providing proportionate responses when people need them.

The building has been transformed to provide a modern facility that provides a co-located base for all social care and education staff with a view to delivering seamless children and adult services that makes it easier for people, families and carers to get the information advice and support they need in a central location with the city centre.