Stage set for city centre opera company’s major expansion

G&H Building Services has been chosen to deliver the mechanical and electrical (M&E) works for a city centre opera company’s multi-million pound redevelopment project.

The main contractor Henry Boot Construction has appointed G&H Building Services for Opera North’s Howard Opera Centre project, in Leeds, in a £3.2m contract.

It is named after philanthropist Dr Keith Howard, who has given a personal gift of £11.25m towards Opera North’s wider £18m Music Works scheme.

The Howard Opera Centre will comprise a new education studio, a rehearsal studio for the orchestra and chorus of Opera North, a costume and wigs workshop, offices and suite of music coaching rooms are also being developed.

A restaurant and bar will replace a row of four vacant shops underneath Opera North’s chamber venue, the Howard Assembly Room.

The venue on New Briggate and Harrison Street will have its own dedicated entrance and box office next to the restaurant with a new atrium space providing direct staircase and lift access.

Electrically, G&H Building Services will install lighting taking into account natural daylight and using the latest energy saving LEDs with emergency lighting in internal escape routes.

CCTV, access controls, voice, data, fire and disabled toilet alarms and small power will be provided too.

Mechanically, heat recovery and ventilation plant will consider busy areas such as offices, restaurant, bar, kitchen, washrooms and rehearsal spaces.

A new plant room will also be fitted encompassing boiler plant, cold water storage and associated distribution pipework.

Senior contracts manager at G&H Building Services, Paul Cuss, said: “We are working closely with Opera North and the main contractor, Henry Boot Construction, to deliver a scheme featuring the best M&E services bespoke to how the facilities will be used.

“This will allow artists, audiences and staff members to enjoy the best possible conditions at all times of the year.

“We have also taken into account the affect the mechanical and electrical work could have on a building of this grandeur, considering finer points such as ensuring conditions won’t impair the performance of musical instruments.”