High scores on-site from the Considerate Constructors Scheme

CCS logo

We were visited on-site at the beginning of March by a representative from the Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) to check how the site is performing in areas including safety, respecting the community, organisation/appearance and the welfare of our team.

IMG_2803The CCS is a non-profit-making, independent organisation founded in 1997 by the construction industry to improve its image. Construction sites voluntarily register with the Scheme and agree to abide by the Code of Considerate Practice, designed to encourage best practice beyond statutory requirements.  The Scheme is concerned about any area of construction activity that may have a direct or indirect impact on the image of the industry as a whole.


We were informed by the inspectors that scoring over 38 was very rare, so we are delighted to have scored 40 overall and to be deemed ‘Excellent’ in all areas. The following quotes, taken from the report, highlight why:

On the appearance of our site: “The site is very well organised with all areas clean and tidy. Branding is well used and a website blog, updated monthly, is in place with the Public able to ask questions.”

On respecting the community: “Goodwill gestures include filling potholes for neighbours. Harrogate College students have been given a safety talk and parties of six students will visit site each Friday, commencing after Easter.”

On protecting the environment: “New trees, saplings and bat boxes are to be provided. A more environmentally friendly building will result.”

For more information on the Considerate Constructors Code please click here.


Historic discovery at Knapping Mount!

As we near the end of the final phase of demolition onsite, we are pleased to have salvaged this huge stone from above the doorway of Knapping House, that bears the initials of its original resident William Henry Baxter.


Our site team was interested to know more about this impressive artefact and the man behind its construction and after a little digging of a different kind, unearthed the following interesting facts:

Born in Leeds in circa 1844 Baxter was a civil engineer, and author who lived in Harrogate with his wife and children. Owner of a road building equipment firm in Leeds, he is famous for patenting the ‘Knapping Machine’ which was used to break stones to make hard-core for roads. When he died Baxter was a pioneer in modern road construction and stone-breaking machinery and thanks to his success, was one of the first residents in the Harrogate district to own an electric car, which he used to commute to Leeds.

The stone featuring William Henry Baxter’s initials will remain where it belongs and be incorporated into the new building. We are proud to be part of Knapping Mount’s new phase of development creating an important civic hub for Harrogate for years to come whilst also maintaining a little bit of its history along the way.

Introducing project architect: Farrell & Clark

F&CWe are pleased to be working in partnership with Leeds-based architects, Farrell and Clark on the Harrogate Borough Council new civic headquarters project and we are working closely with them to ensure that we deliver the vision for the Knapping Mount site.


Farrell and Clark are inventive, energetic and dedicated architects, master planners and sustainable designers with studios in Leeds and London. The firm has an excellent reputation for delivering quality architecture in both public and private sector projects. The practice has been recognised for the quality of their buildings with success in many national and regional awards.

David Morland, architect and partner at Farrell & Clark, explains why the firm was selected, the design vision for the final building and how it will enhance the local area for those living and working in Harrogate.

Architect blog 1What is your vision for Knapping Mount?

Our main vision for Knapping Mount is to create an enjoyable and vibrant place for people to work and visit.  Paramount to this vision is the concept of spaces which support modern working practices and allow the Council’s services to work cohesively on the same site.

Our design of the new HQ and surrounding landscape embraces the existing attractive mature wooded parkland environment into which they are set. We have given key consideration to the wooded and grassed space with the development being designed to retain the amenity value and promote ecology and sustainability. Designed to be a highly sustainable building, Knapping Mount will contribute to building a lower-carbon world and become a building Harrogate can be proud of and identify with.

How do you think the design of the building will enhance the local area?

Knapping Mount has been designed with a great deal of care, consultation and attention to the local conservation area in which the building sits.

The form and shape of the building are distinctive and unique whilst the scale, materials and proportion respect neighbouring structures and the wider conservation area.

The design enhances the public amenity spaces, creating a network of pedestrian routes with additional woodland planting being introduced throughout, creating swathe of spring flowers in areas which are currently bare. The addition of a central courtyard links the existing formal footpaths to the West and St Luke’s Avenue. The development will provide a potential civic space to host small gatherings whilst also providing access parking.

The community will benefit from a new public entrance and customer service centre, whilst retaining the existing wooded parkland and amenity grassed area to the South approach.  A new central courtyard will link the informal footpaths on the West to St Luke’s Avenue.

Overall the development encompasses facilities which in turn ensure the council is able to provide a better services for residents and visitors.

27/11/15: Demolition has started at Knapping Mount

Demolition work has started onsite this week and we are working in partnership with RGS demolition, a Yorkshire-based company, committed to recycling and wherever possible reclaiming materials for re-use. The demolition work will continue in stages over the next few weeks.


Brandreth House, originally build it the 1950’s and largely used as office space is the first of the existing buildings to be demolished. To help limit the environmental impact of our works onsite, much of the slate, stone and timber from the building has been carefully removed and will go on to be recycled.

If you have any questions or concerns about the planned demolition works please leave a comment or contact our project manager Julian.

Partnership announcement: Harry Fairclough & Harrogate College introduce ‘experience construction’ scheme on iconic new building project

The launch of our ‘experience construction’ partnership with Harrogate College will give students the opportunity to get involved in the many aspects of the construction of Harrogate Borough Council’s iconic new civic headquarters. As an important building in the district, tHC logohey will experience first-hand what goes into the building process on a project of this scale.

We will be working closely with the college’s Brickwork and Joinery students to offer work experience opportunities onsite, as well as with students from across the college who are studying subjects such as artwork, business and photography.

hcuk training logo

We will also be arranging visits and inductions at the site for apprentices. These will be co-ordinated through Harrogate College HCUK Training.  As a company it is a priority for us to ensure that young people understand the possibilities that a career in construction presents. By involving students in this flagship project, we will be able to help bridge skills gaps and provide training that will enable students to see the range of exciting career opportunities available to them.

Watch this space for updates on what the students will get up to during their time on-site with Julian and the rest of our site team.

Safety update: Fencing and pedestrian access at Knapping Mount

We understand that before we began work on-site and erected safety fencing at Knapping Mount, it was a popular ‘cut-through’ for local dog walkers/residents. We are sorry if your daily routine has been disturbed and we would like to assure you that when the building work is completed in Spring 2017, the routes will be re-opened to the public.

All construction sites must take account of Health and Safety legislation.  The law says that business on construction sites must be conducted without putting members of the public at risk.  This includes the general public and any workers who may be affected by the work taking place on the site.  Where an area is cordoned off steps have to be taken to exclude unauthorised people – especially vulnerable people – from the site. Safety is, and must remain, our priority during our time on the project.


There is still an accessible route around the site from Portland Crescent, which may provide a solution for some, linking the path at the rear of the site which leads to the Luchon Way Play Area, Osborne Gardens, Osborne Close and St Luke’s Close. The section of woodland at the front of the site, which has not been fenced off will also remain accessible for residents to enjoy during the duration of the project.

Thank you for your understanding.


Progress update w/c 26/10/15: Tree pruning and protection

Bardsey Tree Services has arrived onsite today to remove a small area of trees and shrubs from site in preparation for demolition work to begin.


We have a commitment on this project to ensure that we minimise the environmental impact of all construction activity and working with like-minded companies will help us to achieve this. We are therefore working with local experts Bardsey Tree Services who have over 20 years’ experience in tree pruning and protection. The firm recycles 100% of its green waste by using the timber for firewood and using the remainder of the wood to create biomass fuel for power stations.

We are also working very closely with architects for the scheme, Farrell & Clark and a specialist arborist to ensure that proper care and planning is implemented and that we preserve as many of the trees on the site as possible and enhance the surrounding landscape. Following this initial clearance, tree protection measures will be put in place to protect the remaining trees throughout each phase of construction.

David Morland, architect and partner at Farrell & Clark explains: “The design of the new Civic HQ, and its surrounding landscape embrace the existing attractive mature wooded parkland environment into which they are set. The retention of the existing landscape character and as many mature trees as possible have been key considerations of the design.

Ornamental shrub planting will be incorporated to the immediate building environment. New planting to the peripheral edges of the development will be in keeping with the character of the existing wooded and grassed parkland, and will be designed to retain its amenity value and promote ecology and sustainability.

In addition, the scheme has been designed to enhance public amenity spaces on the site. The scheme will create a new central courtyard which links the existing informal footpaths to the west to St Luke’s Avenue and create a flexible hard landscape space in front of the building, generally to provide access parking but also to provide a potential civic space for occasional small gatherings. The existing wooded parkland and amenity grassed areas to the south approach to the building will more or less be retained as existing. However the opportunity will be taken to provide new footpaths focussing on the public entrance and customer service centre. Additional woodland bulbs will also be introduced in this area with its existing swathes of spring daffodils retained and enhanced in places where it is currently bare.”