Midlands-based contractor G F Tomlinson has been shortlisted for ‘Refurbishment of the year’ at the annual Building Awards, recognising work undertaken at Nottingham Castle.

The historical landmark has undergone a significant transformation to become a world-class visitor destination and heritage site following its £31million redevelopment which began back in November 2018. 

Funded by the National Lottery through the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF), Nottingham Castle Trust, D2N2 and client Nottingham City Council – the brief for the construction phase of the overall castle transformation involved specialist restoration and refurbishment works to the 17th century Grade I Listed Ducal Palace, a new extension to house new galleries, and the construction of a visitor centre with a ticketing office, café and outdoor seating area.

Responding to the brief, the design of the new visitor centre features external oak cladding, chosen due to its association with Robin Hood and Sherwood Forest – home of the famous 1,000-year-old Major Oak tree.

The project has transformed the historical landmark enhancing the heritage and history of the city, helping to realise the castle’s vision of attracting more than 400,000 yearly visitors. 

Chris Flint, managing director at G F Tomlinson said: “We are delighted to have been recognised as a finalist for such an acclaimed award. The project was a real highlight of the last two years and a huge achievement for the business, even more so given that the majority of the work took place during the COVID-19 pandemic which posed its own set of challenges.

“Throughout the project we ensured that labour was sourced from local businesses and organisations and we are proud to say we were able to recycle 97% of the onsite construction waste as we continue to take responsibility of our sustainable footprint.”

The contractor provided opportunities for the local community including 27,000 hours of employment, training and social value initiatives – such as local school and college site tours, graduate work experience placements, apprenticeships and employment opportunities, alongside support for a local charity called Framework who provide support with employment, housing and health for people cross Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire and Sheffield.

The works were well-received by the client, as the current Lord Mayor of Nottingham Dave Trimble said: “The completion of this part of the castle works on such a historic site, despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and periods of adverse weather, is a big achievement.

“The impact of these works will have a lasting impression on the city, bolstering tourism with the restoration of the fascinating building which lies on an iconic cave network, and the construction of the new visitor centre.”              

The Building Awards recognise the most impressive UK businesses and projects within the building and construction sector. Projects will be judged on design, sustainability, innovation and construction performance, procurement and team work with the client. Winners of all categories will be announced during a black-tie dinner in November at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.