Delivering sensitive project management in conservation and heritage

Saint Nicholas Kings Lynn child inside

Exploring the role of project and cost management in restoration

The Challenge
Conservation and Heritage projects always attract a high level of public scrutiny, and a balancing act to sensitively renovate while introducing solutions to make them fit for generations to come.

One challenge is, of course, not only to renovate but also to meet the growing requirement to build more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly solutions which are also sympathetic to historic materials and architecture. Another is to keep all the parties informed plus deliver in time and within budget.

The Reward
The bonus of working on Conservation and Heritage projects is that they can be deeply rewarding. The team at Clarkson Alliance have worked on many such projects over the years; as project managers, cost managers or both. In fact one of our senior project managers, Jason, was a Head Stonemason before joining us in 2013.

One such rewarding project was in the £2.7m refurbishment of the stunning St Nicholas Chapel, Kings Lynn; the largest Chapel of Ease in England.

Following significant fund-raising from the Churches Conservation Trust and Friends of St. Nicholas Chapel,  the Heritage Lottery Fund provided a grant which made the vital restoration work possible.

Richard Griffiths Architects were appointed as architects and Clarkson Alliance as the project management company to oversee the extensive conservation and repair work. The goal of the Churches Conservation Trust was to provide a historic, functional and flexible space for  education, events and other activities as well as inspiring community projects in East Anglia.

The scope of the project included complete re-roofing with the installation of PV solar panels. There were also: masonry repairs, the refurbishing of 20 chandeliers, a new chamber floor, installation of new toilets and a kitchen area.

Unveiling the project on time enabled St Nicholas’ Chapel to be open for the Open Doors weekend, a national celebration of Heritage where many notable sites open to the public.

At the time Isabel Assaly, Regeneration Manager, Churches Conservation Trust said:  “St Nicholas Chapel is a significant building in the Churches Conservation Trust’s portfolio, as well having a noteworthy local history. We’re really glad to reopen it to the public and also be able to offer a new dimension to appreciating the Chapel through event hire.

We have had confidence in how Clarkson Alliance managed the team and project throughout. They’ve been approachable and knowledgeable whilst also delivering the project on time.”

The Future
“Conservation projects are unique in terms of stages of funding. Nowadays PV panels, heat source pumps, insultation are more often than not essential considerations. Combining the new and old, keeping the project on track, dealing with the inevitable curve balls and doing our best to keep all parties informed is what we do. Specialising in this sector, we feel we are contributing to future generations. It is good for the soul combined with the satisfaction of a job well done.” David Chapell, Director, Clarkson Alliance

Examples of previous  Conservation and Heritage projects include The Caledonian Park Clock Tower in London’s Islington Parks, Sacrewell Farm Heritage Farm and Country Centre in Peterborough and Oxford Castle, Oxford Preservation Trust, Oxford.

Clarkson Alliance
Website |      
Contact |


Sign up to receive our journal.

Download Journal