A £500,000 contract for advance works to Rothesay Pavilion has been won by a company based in Cowal.
The contract for the first major phase of the building’s regeneration was awarded to John Brown (Strone) Ltd, a company with significant experience of working on Bute.
The Pavilion’s owners, Argyll and Bute Council, decided in January to split the principal contract for the building’s refurbishment into two stages - the ‘advance works’ being the first - after survey work carried out in the autumn suggested the total cost of the project was likely to rise from £9m to £11m.
Argyll and Bute Council’s executive director for development and infrastructure, Pippa Milne, said: “This is another key stage in our project to restore the Pavilion to its former glory.
“We are very pleased to have awarded the contract, at a fair price, to an Argyll company with such a strong track record. Big construction contracts like this have a number of benefits to the local economy, such as local tradesmen having the opportunity to sub-contract and hotels and B&Bs providing accommodation for workers.
“Following the closure of the building in September last year we were able to carry out some further detailed survey work which revealed that the building was in a much poorer condition than previously thought.
“The roof and external walls are suffering from severe water ingress; the existing (external) on-site drainage pipes are fractured and will need to be completely renewed; and, following the identification of poor subsoil conditions, the foundations will need to be significantly underpinned and reinforced in order to cope with the distribution of loads in the renovated facility.
“This first contract, for advanced works, is an important step. It has been let with the intention of starting in mid-April and finishing in the summer. These works will involve removal of all ceilings on the ground and first floors, removal of redundant mechanical and electrical systems and survey and repair of the reinforced concrete frame of the building.
“These works will help us slow the deterioration of the building and give us greater detail on its condition.
“By undertaking them as a separate contract we can gain a much better understanding of large areas of the building which are currently hidden and unseen.
“The greater detail we have the better – this allows us to be more specific when we let the main contract, ensuring that we manage the financial risk to the council in the most sensible way.”
Following the completion of this work it is anticipated that the main contract works will commence towards the end of this year.
Julia Twomlow, chief executive of the Rothesay Pavilion Charity, which will take over the running of the building when the refurbishment work is complete, said: “Over the last few months we’ve been in the Pavilion a lot, working with council staff and a great team of volunteers, to clear the contents and pass them on for reuse in the community in anticipation of construction works starting.
“During that time we have all been keenly aware of the building’s deterioration so it is fabulous to hear that the enabling contract has been awarded and we can start to move forward to a more positive phase.
“Having witnessed how much local affection there is for the Pavilion here in Rothesay, we think this is going to be welcome news for everyone and we look forward to working with Argyll and Bute Council and with the appointed contractors over the coming weeks.”
The advance works are being funded through the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund and the UK’s Government’s Coastal Communities Fund.