become part of history.
Just a short stroll from The Houses of Parliament, 9 Millbank occupies a converted riverside location with views over the Thames. Gracing the banks of the river, in the heart of historic Westminster, 9 Millbank is now “Millbank Residences”, a block of luxury flats in a beautifully restored 1920s building built in the neoclassical style of the interwar years. The impressive granite-and-stone façade is set back from the river behind Victoria Tower Gardens, a park that forms part of the Thames Embankment.
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Senior quantity surveyor Yemi Kusimo has worked on the project to convert the building on behalf of Berkeley Homes. He says that one of the reasons working on historically important buildings and landmarks is so fascinating is because of the limitations imposed by history. “All work has to be done from the inside – you can’t touch anything on the outside,” he says.
Given 9 Millbank was originally constructed between 1927 and 1929 and is now a Grade II listed building, it has to retain many of its original features including classical interiors. These include the imposing 20ft high cast bronze doors in the main entrance which are divided into six panels illustrating the progress of industry by the application of science (they were modelled specially for ICI – 9 Millbank was designed as its HQ). The carvings of Neptune and seahorses on the granite surround suggest ICI’s overseas interests. “Clearly, interesting features like those are going to have to be retained,” he says.
“Using some of the interior details takes some imagination” he says of work to retain original materials used, including ornate plasterwork and listed staircases.
The quality of the work may go to explain the popularity of these projects. Project managers are the keenest to work on them saying but they’re very popular with maintenance engineers and labourers, too.
Age plays a huge factor in how keen construction professionals are to work on these projects. For instance, the over 65s say they’d sacrifice 25% of their pay for the chance to do the work. But, on average, people tell us, they’d sacrifice 14% of their pay to work on projects like this.
How does this work in real life? Well, we have seen some evidence of blue-chip projects in historic landmarks paying a little less. It’s often something like a 20% discount and we’ve recruited maintenance engineers for roles at Windsor Castle on £32k while comparable, less glamorous jobs pay closer to £40k. But normally, the pay differential is not that high - maybe 10%.
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