An overview of my work placement at William Anelay Ltd.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Judges Lodging

Site visit to Judges Lodging
(2 Lendal St, York) 

“We have had six months exploration work, trying to get into every nook and cranny. We wanted to find out how the building worked and operated. We want people to see the building as it was originally meant. We’re bringing together its history and its future.” 
~ Sorcha Drakeford, operations director at the Judges Lodgings

The Judges Lodgings is a Grade I listed townhouse which was used by judges when they attended the sessions of the Assize Courts which were held four times each year in York. The building was erected between 1711 and 1726 on land that formerly belonged to St. Wilfred's Church (York) (that was demolished between 1550 and 1587). It is rumoured that the kitchen floor and the oven shelves of the original house were made up from ancient tombstones - it is said that freshly baked bread would often come out of the oven with inscriptions such as ‘Rest in Peace’! (one of the urban legends of York?)

The house is a very early example of the classical style which was to become popular throughout the eighteenth century. Festoons of fruit emphasise the unusual stone door surround, which is framed by a Venetian style arch. The keystone of the arch is carved with a bearded mask representing Aesculapius, the Greek demi-god of medicine. The architect is unknown, but may have been Lord Burlington, who designed and built the Assembly Rooms in 1730 and possibly the Mansion House between 1725 and 1730, both close to the Judges' Lodgings.

Contract commencement date: 18 March 2013
Contract completion date: 1 July 2014
Contract period: 80 weeks

The project includes internal and external alterations including demolition of a modern rear extension and construction of a new extension. The refurbishment will add an extra eight rooms to the hotel, bringing the total to 22, as well as expanding the cellar bar and dining area into the upper first floor of the building, and creating additional outdoor terraces. The hotel has been closed for 5 months (22 weeks) to carry out the refurbishment works. The contract period is an unusually short one and does not allow very much space for maneuvering, meaning that the completion programme needs to be rather specific and detailed in order to allow the completion of the works on time.

Site visit
The site is interesting both archaeologically and architecturally which also meant that a lot of effort and planning needed to be put into how the schedule of works would be implemented in reality. For example, one of the issues was the question of transport and logistics. In addition to the central location in the city, the site itself provided quite narrow access and raised the question of how to get the materials and plants to lay new foundations for the construction of the new extension in the small backyard of the hotel. During my site visit, not only the foundations, but the envelope of the new extension was all ready and was waiting for doors and windows to be put in.

Another interesting fact about the project was the fact that it had 32 sub- contractors in total. This is no doubt a challenge for the project manager to literally manage the progress of each sub- contractor and make sure that everything will be finished on time.

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