Infobox building
building_name = Snowhill

caption = A view of Phases 3 and 4 from St. Chad's Cathedral
building_type = Hotel, residential, office and retail
architectural_style = Postmodern
structural_system =
location = Snow Hill Queensway, Birmingham, England
coordinates =
completion_date = 2011
status = Phases 1, 2 and 4 - Under construction
Phase 3 - On Hold
height = convert|138|m|ft|0
floor_count = 43
main_contractor = Kier Group
architect = Sidell Gibson Architects
structural_engineer = WSP
services_engineer =
civil_engineer =
other_designers = Glenn Howells, Fairhursts, Alan Baxter and Associates LLP
quantity_surveyor = Gleeds
awards =

Snowhill (often misspelled as Snow Hill) is a mixed-use development by Ballymore under construction between Snow Hill Queensway and Birmingham Snow Hill station in Birmingham city centre, England. The £500 million phased scheme is located on a surface car park adjacent to the railway station. As part of the project, St. Chad's Circus on the Inner Ring Road has been levelled to create a new square adjacent to St. Chad's Cathedral and a viaduct is being constructed alongside the station in preparation for the extension of the Midland Metro into the city centre.

Snowhill will consist of a mixture of Grade A office space, retail units, a hotel and residential apartments in four buildings. The two office buildings with retail units on the ground floor have been designed by Sidell Gibson Architects whilst the five star hotel and residential buildings have been designed by Birmingham based-Glenn Howells. An underground car park is being constructed beneath the site. Phase 2, a convert|57|m|ft|0|abbr=on tall office building with 12 floors is nearing completion, whilst its neighbour Phase 4, at convert|75|m|ft|0 in height with 15 floors, is under construction. However, due to the current economic downturn, Phase 3, the residential 40 storey building with a 23 storey hotel, is on hold. Work is expected to restart in 2009.Fact|date=October 2008

ite and setting


Located near to Colmore Row, the site was once owned by the Colmore family who owned large areas of land to the north of the present city centre. The family began to establish road layouts and sell plots of land to builders in the 18th century. The site was one of the these plots and it became the location of Oppenheim's Glassworks.cite web |url= |title=Snow Hill Development Brief |publisher=Birmingham City Council Planning Department |month=May |year=2002 |format=pdf |accessdate=2007-11-21] This is the earliest documented glassworks in Birmingham. The glassworks were built in 1757 by Mayer Oppenheim, a London merchant who moved to Birmingham in the same year and who patented red (ruby) glass in 1755. [cite web |url= |title=Glassmaking: A Jewish Tradition |publisher=HHF |author=Samuel Kurinsky |accessdate=2008-02-01] The building ceased to be used as a glasshouse after 1780/81. [cite web| url= |title=Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Impacts |publisher=Centro |accessdate=2008-02-01] The site was later cleared to make way for the new Birmingham Snow Hill station. In 1970, Snow Hill station was redeveloped and the site became a surface car park and remained as such until construction work commenced. ["Supporting Information - Planning application number: C/06768/07/FUL", submitted 2007-11-06 (Accessed 2007-11-22)]


The 1.48 hectare (3.65 acres) site which has been outlined for redevelopment runs along the eastern edge of Birmingham Snow Hill station, which marks the western boundary of the site. To the north, the site is bounded by Great Charles Street Queensway and St. Chad's Circus on the Inner Ring Road, and to the east the site is bounded by Snow Hill Queensway. To the south the site is bounded by Colmore Circus. It is located between the City Core and the Gun and Jewellery Quarters. The level of the site drops significantly from Colmore Circus to St. Chad's Circus and also drops from Snow Hill Queensway to the railway station.


There are a number of highrise buildings in the immediate vicinity including 1 Snow Hill Plaza, which is directly opposite the site. Other nearby highrise buildings include Colmore Plaza, on the site of the former Birmingham Post and Mail Building, [cite web|url=| title=Colmore Plaza| publisher=Skyscraper News| accessdate= 2007-11-21] and Colmore Gate. Shorter buildings include the three office blocks at the entrance to Snow Hill station, Lloyd House - the West Midlands Police headquarters, The Wesleyan building [cite web|url= |title=The Wesleyan| publisher=Skyscraper News| accessdate=2007-11-21] and 1 Colmore Square. [cite web|url=| title=No.1 Colmore Square| publisher=Skyscraper News| accessdate=2007-11-21] Nearby are the Colmore Row and Environs Conservation Area and the Steelhouse conservation area. St. Chad's Cathedral is a Grade II* listed building designed by Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin. [IoE|217553]

The area has close transport links. Snow Hill station is one of the three major railway stations in the city centre and provides through rail services to London Marylebone while the "Jewellery Line" provides services from Worcester/Stourbridge to Leamington Spa/Stratford via Birmingham Moor Street railway station. Snow Hill station is also the terminus of Line 1 of the Midland Metro which connects to Wolverhampton. The planned extensions of this line will take the Midland Metro on through the city centre to Five Ways and on to Dudley. [cite web|url= |title=Midland Metro Phase 1 Extensions |publisher=West Midlands Passenger Transport Authority |date=2006-04-24 |format=pdf| accessdate=2007-11-21] National Express West Midlands bus services operate along Snow Hill Queensway and Colmore Circus. [cite web| url=| title=Birmingham| publisher=Backpackers Ultimate Guide| accessdate=2007-11-21] A coach station was planned for an undeveloped site opposite the rear of Snow Hill station, however, the plans were shelved [cite web|url=|title= Great Charles Street - Draft Planning Guidelines |publisher=Birmingham City Council| accessdate=2007-11-21] and the existing Digbeth Coach Station is to be redeveloped instead. [cite web |url= |title=Digbeth coach station - end of an era party |publisher="BBC Birmingham" |accessdate=2007-11-21]

Planning history

Development brief

On May 13 2002, Birmingham City Council adopted the Snow Hill Development Brief for proposals on the site as Supplementary Planning Guidance to the Birmingham Unitary Development Plan.cite web |url= |title=Midland Metro (Birmingham City Centre Extension Etc) Order - Inspector's Report |publisher=Department for Transport |accessdate=2008-03-15] The brief set out planning and urban design guidance for developers interested in developing the site. It also provided a framework for the future development of the wider area around St. Chad's Circus. In May 2002, the brief was adopted as Supplementary Planning Guidance to the Birmingham Plan for use in determining planning applications for the site. [cite web|url= |title=Snow Hill Development Brief |publisher=Birmingham City Council |accessdate=2007-11-21] The development brief outlined a strategy which incorporated the extension of the Midland Metro light rail line and the conversion of Snow Hill Queensway to an 'urban boulevard'. In converting Snow Hill Queensway into an urban boulevard, St. Chad's Circus would be levelled to enhance the surroundings of St. Chad's Cathedral. The development brief also stated that the development must consist of a series of buildings as opposed to one monolithic building. The tallest of these buildings should be 12 storeys and step down, avoiding the use of false ground levels. An artist's impression of a potential design was produced for the development brief. [cite web |url= |title=Snow Hill - Artist's Impression |publisher=Birmingham City Council |accessdate=2007-11-21]


At the time of the production of the Snow Hill Development Brief, the site was owned freehold by Birmingham City Council and Railtrack. The brief proposed that the successful developer will be offered a long leasehold interest encompassing both freehold interests with vacant possession on completion. Ballymore and Hammerson purchased the site for £63 million in 2002. [cite web|url= |title=Ballymore gains consent for Birmingham’s Snow Hill |publisher="Property Week" |date=2005-10-19 |accessdate=2007-12-08]

Planning applications

The first of the planning applications was submitted by agents Drivers Jonas on behalf of Railtrack. The outline planning application was submitted on December 21, 2001, although it was not registered by the Planning Department at Birmingham City Council until January 30, 2002. The planning application brief on the Birmingham City Council website said:"Planning application number C/06465/01/OUT", submitted 2001-12-21 (Accessed 2007-11-21)]

Office and residential development, ancillary A1, A3, A4, A5 and D2 uses, car parking & associated highway improvements

The planning committee resolved to grant planning permission, subject to Section 106 and Section 278 agreements, in April 2005."Planning Obligation Agreement: S106 Heads of Terms. Planning application number: C/00391/07/FUL", submitted 2007-01-23 (Accessed 2007-11-22)] Section 106 agreements were signed on December 15, 2007 between Birmingham City Council, RT Group and Anglo Irish Bank. The planning application was approved on December 19, 2005, nearly four years after it was submitted. Along with approval, Railtrack were given 47 planning conditions.

The applicant then made it clear that they intended to submit reserved matters planning applications for the four individual phases for the development. The first of these reserved matters planning applications was for the construction of an internal service road, covered car park, piazza deck and a tram viaduct. The planning application was submitted by GVA Grimley on behalf of RT Group Developments, a wholly owned subsidiary of Domaine Developments Limited, which is in turn a wholly owned subsidiary of Ballymore. It was submitted on January 25, 2006 and registered on the same day. The Birmingham City Council summarised the planning application as:"Planning application number C/00317/06/RES", submitted 2006-01-25 (Accessed 2007-11-21)]

Reserved matters application for siting, design and external appearance, regarding provision of internal service road, covered car park, piazza deck & erection of tram viaduct

The planning application was approved on March 9, 2006.

The second reserved matters planning application was submitted by GVA Grimley on behalf of RT Group Developments. It was submitted on May 9, 2006 and registered by the Planning Department at Birmingham City Council on June 27, 2006. The planning application brief on the local authority's website said:"Planning application number C/02799/06/RES", submitted 2006-05-09 (Accessed 2007-11-21)]

Reserved matters application for siting, design, external appearance and landscaping, in connection with the erection of a 12 storey office building with B1(a) A1/A3/A4 uses at ground floor together with associated landscaping

The planning application was approved by the planning department on June 29, 2006. The developers then sought to revise the masterplan to the site following property market changes, planning policy changes and changes in thoughts over the design of the scheme. The revised masterplan was approved by the council in July 2006.

The third planning application to be submitted was a detailed planning application indicating that the details of the proposal were different to what was approved in the outline planning application. It was submitted on January 23, 2007 by GVA Grimley on behalf of the RT Group, and was registered on the same day. The council's website summarised the planning application details as:"Planning application number C/00391/07/FUL", submitted 2007-01-23 (Accessed 2007-11-22)]

Detailed planning application for mixed-use development comprising 170 bedroom hotel (C1) standing 23 storeys in height (208 m AOD) and 332 residential apartments (C3) standing 43 storeys in height (260 m AOD) together with ancillary retail, leisure and conference facilities, landscaping and associated car parking

The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) were invited to comment on the towers. [cite web| url= |title=Design review: Snow Hill, Building 3 |publisher=CABE |date=2007-04-20 |accessdate=2007-12-08] The planning application was deferred by the planning department on July 24, 2007 over Section 106 issues, which had been identified by planning officers prior to the agreement. These issues were later resolved and the planning application was approved.

Submitted on the same day as the third planning application, the third reserved matters planning application was submitted for an office building on Phase 4. The council's website summarised the planning application as:"Planning application number: C/00394/07/RES", submitted 2007-01-23 (Accessed 2007-11-22)]

Reserved matters application for siting, design, external appearance and landscaping for second office building, car parking and associated landscaping, pursuant to outline planning permission C/00393/07/FUL

A detailed planning application requesting permission from the council to modify condition C10 of the outline planning permission to extend the height of the office building to 15 storeys was also submitted on the same day."Planning application number: C/00393/07/FUL", submitted 2007-01-23 (Accessed 2007-11-22)] Both planning applications were approved on August 20, 2007.

Following this, another planning application was submitted for a glazed 'winter garden' between office buildings one and two. It was submitted on November 6, 2007 by GVA Grimley on behalf of RT Group, and was registered on the same day. The consultation process ended on December 3, 2007 and the planning application was approved on December 11, 2007. ["Planning application number: C/06768/07/FUL", submitted 2007-11-06 (Accessed 2007-11-22)]

The latest planning application to be submitted was to revise the planning application for the hotel and residential towers. The planning application sought permission for the hotel tower to be extended by convert|72|cm|in|0|abbr=on in height and the footprint to be extended by convert|65|cm|in|0|abbr=on to accommodate an extra 28 hotel rooms. The floor-to-ceiling heights will be reduced by convert|25|cm|in|0|abbr=on. The total floorspace in the development was increased by convert|1747|m2|sqft|1|abbr=on to convert|53086|m2|sqft|1|abbr=on. The planning application was submitted on February 25, 2008 and registered on the same day. It was summarised on the council's website as:

Revisions to planning permission C/00391/07/FUL to permit a 43 storey residential tower (260m AOD) and a 25 storey hotel tower (209m AOD) together with ancillary retail, leisure and conferencing facilities, landscaping and associated car parking

On April 10, 2008, it was deferred for an agreement over Section 106 payments."Planning application number: C/01073/08/FUL", submitted 2008-02-25 (Accessed 2008-04-26)]


Phase 1

Phase 1 consists of the construction of a tram viaduct alongside Livery Street car park to take the Midland Metro into the city centre. The viaduct will commence at Great Charles Street Queensway, adjacent to the bridge carrying railway services into Snow Hill station, and run along the length of the Snowhill site. It will end at a piazza deck, from which the Midland Metro will leave the Snowhill site and go onto Colmore Circus, if the extension of Line 1 is approved. The bridge that will carry the Midland Metro over Great Charles Street Queensway will be designed by a separate practice and be part of a separate planning application."Viaduct Bay Study Sheet 2 OP/209 Rev A - Planning application number: C/00317/06/RES", submitted 2006-01-25 (Accessed 2007-11-24)] The viaduct will be covered in convert|50|mm|in|0|abbr=on pebble ballast. ["Metro/piazza level OP/203 Rev A - Planning application number: C/00317/06/RES", submitted 2006-01-25 (Accessed 2007-11-24)] There will be 16 sets of reinforced concrete columns supporting the viaduct which consists of reinforced concrete beams and a reinforced concrete parapet. Beneath these will be a service road for deliveries to the retail units and the hotel. ["Elevation of Viaduct & new piazza OP/210 Rev A - Planning application number: C/00317/06/RES", submitted 2006-01-25 (Accessed 2007-11-24)] For the construction of the viaduct, Tarmac Precast were awarded a £300,000 contract by Kier Build to manufacture 250 specially designed TY and TYE complimentary edge beams. The beams were manufactured over a six week period Tarmac Precast's Henlade site. [cite web |url= |title=Tarmac Precast keeps Snowhill Development on track |publisher=Tarmac |month=January |year=2008 |accessdate=2008-02-01] The service road will be tarmac, lined with precast concrete kerbs, separating the road from the concrete pavement for pedestrians. ["Viaduct Bay Study Sheet 1 OP/208 - Planning application number: C/00317/06/RES", submitted 2006-01-25 (Accessed 2007-11-24)] The concrete deck that will carry the Midland Metro will be convert|650|mm|in|0|abbr=on thick. In total, the viaduct will be convert|220|m|ft|0|abbr=on long and is being built by the Kier Group.cite web|url= |title=Kier Build secures £66m Snow Hill contract |publisher=Kier Group plc. |date=2007-01-15 |accessdate=2007-12-08] The viaduct was designed by Alan Baxter and Associates LLP consulting engineers with Sidell Gibson Architects, and is estimated to cost £9 million. [cite web| url= |title= Metro bridges link with Birmingham city centre |publisher=Network West Midlands |date=2007-04-10 |accessdate=2007-12-08]

Phase 2

Phase 2, also known as One Snowhill, consists of the construction of a 12 storey, convert|26|m|ft|0|adj=on [cite web |url= |title=Snow Hill Office Building One |publisher=Emporis |accessdate=2008-05-30] office and retail building. There are three basement levels with car parking facilities ["MA-Building One Cross Sections AA and BB 240 Issue 5 - Planning application number C/02799/06/RES", submitted 2006-05-09 (Accessed 2007-12-07)] and 11 floors of offices. The office building was designed by Sidell Gibson Architects, who were the concept architects, and also by Fairhursts. It is being built by the Kier Group, who won the £66 million contract in January 2007. [cite web |url= |title=Kier Build secures £66m Snow Hill contract |publisher=Kier Group |date=2007-01-15 |accessdate=2008-02-01] The building will have an overhanging, slanting wall, facing Livery Street car park. There will be a colonnade at the entrance, ["Building One cross section AA & BB 240 Issue 01 - Planning application number C/02799/06/RES", submitted 2006-05-09 (Accessed 2007-12-07)] the columns of which will be faced with reconstituted slate-coloured stone whilst the roof of the colonnade will be a dark grey colour-coated metal panel soffit. Above the edge of the colonnade will be reconstituted slate-coloured stone panels and dark grey-coloured spandrel panels."Bay studies Type 1 & 2 250 Issue 01 - Planning application number C/02799/06/RES", submitted 2006-05-09 (Accessed 2007-12-07)] On the ground floor, there will be retail units with a varying floor-to-ceiling height. Above this, although below the roof of the colonnade, is the first office floor with a floor-to-ceiling height of convert|2750|mm|in|0|abbr=on. All the office floors above this have the same floor to ceiling height. The entrance will be surrounded by clear glass with colour-coated metal frames.

The windows are a mixture of clear glass and translucent insulated glass panels that are being fitted into dark grey colour-coated metal frames at random locations on the buildings façade. Covering the windows on the slanted wall are horizontal metal and glass solar fins whilst on the Snow Hill Queensway elevation, the solar fins are being fitted vertically. Between alternate floors there are colour-coated metal spandrel panels.

At the top of the building will be the plant level, which will be hidden from view by a colour-coated metal screen. Around the edge of the building will be a metal or glass balustrade to hide the view of the window cleaning device. Alongside the plant level will be a gantry. There will be a total of eleven lifts in the building, spread amongst two cores, with an additional core containing stairs leading to a ground floor fire exit. There will be two platform lifts on the ground floor for disabled people. ["Ground floor plans 220 Issue 01 - Planning application number C/02799/06/RES", submitted 2006-05-09 (Accessed 2007-12-07)]

It was announced in June 2006 that Ballymore had signed KPMG as the main tenant for One Snowhill. The accountancy firm is to rent convert|11000|m2|sqft|0 of office space in the building on a 20 year termcite web| url= |title=Ballymore Gains Approval for Birmingham Project |publisher="Commercial Property News" |author=Marshall Taylor |date=2007-06-04 |accessdate=2007-12-08] on floors 7 to 11. [cite web |url= |title=Ballymore ploughs through at Snowhill |publisher="Emporis" |author=Neil Nickolds |date=2008-02-03 |accessdate=2008-03-15] It was the largest pre-let in Birmingham since 2002 [cite web| url= |title=Ballymore signs KPMG as main Birmingham tenant |publisher="The" |author=Neil Callanan |date=2006-06-25 |accessdate=2007-12-08] and the largest outside of London since 2003.cite web|url= |title=Future Birmingham |publisher=Locate Birmingham |date=Spring 2007 |accessdate=2008-01-02 |format=pdf] KPMG anticipates to commence the phased move of its 1,000 Birmingham workers to the building in 2009. In July 2008, Barclays Commercial Bank agreed to move its Midlands headquarters to 1 Snowhill. They are to take up convert|98000|sqft|m2|0 of space on floors three to six on a 15 year lease with its own dedicated reception and meeting suite. 1,000 sales and operations staff will move into the office building. Jones Lang LaSalle advised Barclays in the agreement whilst Ballymore was represented by CBRE and Colliers CRE. [cite web |url= |title=Barclays to move Midland HQ to Snowhill complex |publisher="Birmingham Post" |author=Steve Pain |date=2008-07-21 |accessdate=2008-07-29]

Phase 3

Phase 3, also known as Three Snowhill, consists of the construction of a 43 storey apartment tower and 23 storey five star hotel. Both towers are connected by a bridge, one floor above the plaza level, and are also connected by basement levels beneath the plaza level. At these levels will be a variety of commercial and hotel accommodation with entrances from street level and the new public square. The towers are topped by two storeys of plant rooms. The communication equipment and maintenance equipment will generally be below the parapet level so that there is an uncluttered roof line. The designs for the towers were inspired by the products of the jewellery and crafts industry in the nearby Jewellery Quarter."Design Statement Design Statement Design and Access Statement_iss1_revD.pdf Part 3 of 4 - Planning application number C/00391/07/FUL", submitted 2007-01-23 (Accessed 2007-12-07)] The bridge across the plaza level will mean that the entrance to the two towers is completely covered from all weather.

Residential element

The residential tower is 42½ storeys tall and will consist of one and two bedroom apartments with penthouse suites on the upper floors. It will be convert|137|m|ft|0|abbr=on tall, becoming the second tallest building in the city, behind the BT Tower, and the tallest residential tower in the city. [cite web|url= |title=Tallest residential tower planned |publisher="BBC News" |date=2007-03-08 |accessdate=2007-12-07] [cite web|url= |title=Snow Hill Residential Tower |publisher=Skyscraper News |accessdate=2007-12-07] The tower is slender and the curvature of the façade will respond to the changing effects of daylight. It will be covered in anodised aluminium panels, glass and polished concrete. The anodised aluminium sills will project convert|200|mm|in|0 from the building. The service area will be concealed by fritted glass spandrel panels, which will also accommodate the extract vents. The columns will rise from a polished concrete base on the ground floor. The top two floors will be surrounded by a light-weight perforated metal screen. There will be a total of 332 apartments in the tower, 10% of which shall be designed to be wheelchair accessible. There will be a single central core containing lifts and stairs. The apartments will be sold on 125 year leases.

Hotel element

The hotel tower will be accessed by two entrances, which will lead to a feature staircase leading up to reception. Level 1 will contain the main kitchens and restaurant, which will be located on the bridge. Ancillary accommodation, offices, plant rooms and storage areas will be located at lower basement levels. There will be a central lift core with offset stair and service cores. There will be a central corridor in the tower with hotel rooms either side and will be wide enough to allow wheelchairs to pass each other. The hotel will consist of a leisure club on basement level 2 which will also be available to the residents in the apartment tower. A 400-seat, convert|1050|m2|sqft|0|adj=oncite web |url= |title=Starwood Hotels & Resorts Partnering with Developer Ballymore Properties Limited to Build a 198 room Westin Hotel in Birmingham, England |publisher="Hotel Online" |date=2007-01-23 |accessdate=2008-05-30] conference facility will be provided at reception level and will be accessed directly from reception. As well as this, the hotel will also feature a convert|370|m2|sqft|0|adj=on ballroom, four meeting rooms, a WestinWORKOUT Gym including a swimming pool, a spa, two restaurants, a bar and lobby lounge, one presidential suite and business centre. The tower was designed to respond to the heights of the office buildings and 1 Snow Hill Plaza, stepping up in height to the taller tower. The tower will be convert|82.75|m|ft|1|abbr=on tall, becoming the tallest hotel tower in the city. [cite web|url= |title=Snow Hill Hotel Tower |publisher=Skyscraper News |accessdate=2007-12-07] The hotel, which will have 198 rooms, will be Birmingham's first five star hotel. [cite web|url= |title=Ballymore gets green light for Snow Hill phases two and three |publisher="Property Week" |date=2007-05-17 |accessdate=2007-12-08]

In November 2006, Cushman & Wakefield were appointed by Ballymore to select a management company to purchase and operate the hotel at Snowhill. [cite web| url= |title=Hotel operator sought for Snow Hill, Birmingham |publisher=Cushman & Wakefield |date=2006-11-01 |accessdate=2007-12-08] On January 4, 2008, "Property Week" reported that Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide had been appointed to operate the hotel under their Westin Hotels brand. [cite web| url= |title= Brum moves up with first five-star hotel (subscription needed) |author=Laura Chesters |date=2008-01-04 |publisher="Property Week" |accessdate=2008-01-04] It will be the second Westin Hotel and the tenth Starwood Hotels & Resorts hotel in the UK. DTZ and Berwin Leighton Paisners acted for Ballymore and CMS Cameron McKenna for Starwood Hotels & Resorts. [cite web| url= |title=Starwood adds five-star hotel to Ballymore's Snowhill scheme |publisher="PropertyEU" |date=2008-01-23 |accessdate=2008-02-01]

Phase 4

Phase 4, also known as Two Snowhill, consists of the construction of a 15 storey, convert|75|m|ft|0|adj=on [cite web |url= |title=Snow Hill Office Building Two |publisher=Emporis |accessdate=2008-05-30] office and retail building. Phase 4 is almost identical to Phase 2 but with the addition of three extra floors. In the basement levels, there will be 146 car parking spaces and 100 cycle spaces. There will be a main core, which will contain six passenger lifts, and a second core with four lifts rising to level six. The atrium will rise the full height of the building and will be topped with a glass roof. ["Design Statement Design and Access Statement Part 1 of 2.pdf - Planning application number: C/00394/07/RES", submitted 2007-01-23 (Accessed 2007-12-07)]

In early 2008, it was reported that Ballymore may be in talks with law firm Wragge & Co and Barclays plc bank about taking up space within Phase 4. Wragge & Co were looking for convert|220000|sqft|m2|0 of office space in the city and Barclays were looking for convert|100000|sqft|m2|0. [cite web |url= |title=Wragge & Co turns to Snow Hill Office Two |date=2008-01-13 |author=Neil Nickolds |publisher=Emporis |accessdate=2008-03-15] On April 22 2008, Wragge & Co announced that they will be taking convert|250000|sqft|m2|0|abbr=on of office space over 11 floors on a 20-year lease with flexibility to accommodate up to 1,800 people at Two Snowhill. It is believed to be the largest pre-let agreement in Birmingham city centre. The company, which is currently based at Colmore Row, One Victoria Square and Bank House, will move into the building in 2011. [cite web| url= |title=Wragge & Co sign up for Snow Hill development |author=John Duckers |date=2008-04-22 |publisher="Birmingham Post" |accessdate=2008-04-26] [cite web |url= |title=Wragge & Co decides on new HQ |publisher=Wragge & Co |date=2008-04-22 |accessdate=2008-05-30]

Art wall

The art wall is a £1.5 million proposal to decorate the side of Livery Street multi-storey car park attached to Snow Hill station that faces the Snowhill site. Ballymore are to work with the Ikon Gallery in Brindleyplace to arrange for artists to submit their ideas. An advisory panel will be set up to decide upon a final design. ["Supporting Statement Arts Proposal - Planning application number C/00391/07/FUL", submitted 2007-01-23 (Accessed 2007-12-07)] Two designs were included in the planning application for phase 3 from artists Charles Hadcock and Art+Com. Hadcock's design also included a paving and seating arrangement inspired by his travels to Egypt. The design consists of tessellated concrete panels, with the seating areas consisting of these tessellated panels being raised above ground surface. ["82739 1 C/00391/07/FUL Supporting Statement - Planning application number C/00391/07/FUL", submitted 2007-01-23 (Accessed 2007-12-07)] The design by Art+Com, named "Drapescape", is inspired by the motion of leaves in the wind. It consists of a collection of plates that are moved from behind. The plates will be individually moved so that they create patterns or the names of historical or famous people from Birmingham appear along with quotes. ["82739 2 C/00391/07/FUL Supporting Statement - Planning application number C/00391/07/FUL", submitted 2007-01-23 (Accessed 2007-12-07)] The art wall will be approximately convert|200|m|ft|0|abbr=on long. [cite web| url= |title=Snowhill development approved in Birmingham |publisher="New City Skyline" |date=2007-05-23 |accessdate=2007-12-08]


Phase 1 and 2

Construction commenced on the site of Phases 1 and 2 in April 2006.cite web|url= |title=Early finish for £400m roadworks |publisher="Birmingham Mail" |date=2007-04-10 |accessdate=2007-12-07]

Initially, it was proposed to use Insitu concrete flat slabs in the basement with a composite steel frame above podium level all on a 9m x 9m grid. However, as the top five floors had been prelet to KPMG, construction needed to be accelerated and water tightness on the upper levels needed to be achieved quicker. As a result, the plan was changed and the steel frame was started at basement level. However, the basement floors and column finishes were required to be concrete. A hybrid concrete flat slab and concrete encased steel column solution was used to achieve this as it allows the steelwork to continue for the upper floors with temporary bracing in the lower levels. As the concrete floors for the basement construction catch up, the temporary bracing is removed or built in. [cite web |url= |title=Snow Hill |publisher=Curtins Consulting |accessdate=2008-05-30]

Once the steel columns were erected for the basement car park, the steelwork to the suspended ground floor was installed. Barrett then erected the 11 storey frame above this concrete base. Below the slab, Barrett Steel Buildings had already left studs on the columns which allowed Kier to erect the RC basement beams later on. For the steel frame, Barrett split the project into halves and erected three floors on one side before moving over to the other. This allowed the decking to be laid on the first side as well as the concrete floors. The programming meant Barrett was always erecting steelwork at least two levels ahead of the concreting team. The erection of steelwork was completed on Phase 2 by the end of 2007. The glass cladding is currently being installed.cite web |url= |title=Futuristic offices will transform city |publisher="New Steel Construction Magazine" |month= January |year=2008 |accessdate=2008-01-30 |format=pdf] Kier Group's contract is due to expire when the building is completed in February 2009. [cite web |url= |title=Snow Hill, Birmingham – Building 1 |publisher=Kier Group plc |accessdate=2008-03-25]

At the peak of activity, 200 construction workers were employed on the site. During construction, 2,800 tonnes of structural steel were used and convert|26000|m2|sqft|0|abbr=on of soil was removed. convert|13000|m2|sqft|0 of glazing, supplied from Germany and Italy, is being installed on the façade of the building.

Two traditional topping out ceremonies took place on the building on April 11 2008. In the first ceremony, executives from Ballymore and KPMG placed a yew sapling on the building's 11th floor in a ceremony that is thought to date back to the Viking times. The yew is said to be able to ward off evil spirits. However, the yew was placed in concrete and was not expected to survive. Later, Mike Whitby, the head of Birmingham City Council, screwed a golden bolt into place in one of the building's steel columns.Cite web |url= |title=Snow Hill tower tops out with a double blessing |publisher="Birmingham Post" |author=Steve Pain |date=2008-04-12 |accessdate=2008-05-30]

Phase 3

When the planning application for Phase 3 was submitted, it was expected that construction would commence in July or August 2007. [cite web |url= |title=Howells adds to Birmingham's towering ambitions |publisher="The Architects' Journal Online" |date=2007-03-16 |accessdate=2007-12-07] Construction of Phase 3 commenced in July 2007. Bachy Soletanche Ltd, who received the £1.5 million contract, commenced work on the site by installing a deep contiguous piled wall around the site. The convert|220|m|ft|0|adj=on|abbr=on perimeter wall consists of 241 contiguous piles, which were chosen by project design consultant WSP. The piles are convert|750|mm|in|0 in diameter. The piles will hold back the ground that consists of a few metres of fill, then a convert|3|m|ft|0|abbr=on to convert|5|m|ft|0|abbr=on thick sand layer which becomes weathered sandstone further down. Because the bedrock slopes from convert|2|m|ft|0|abbr=on to convert|14|m|ft|0|abbr=on down across the site, the piles must be up to convert|17.5|m|ft|0|abbr=on deep. As excavation on the site commenced, the company installed 70 ground anchors to the wall. Each of the anchors are convert|15|m|ft|0|abbr=on long and convert|178|mm|in|0 diameter. These are for temporary support of the wall whilst the basement is being constructed. When construction is completed, they will remain. Some of the piles were drilled using a cased Large Diameter Auger (LDA) rotary bored piling method, while other parts of the wall were drilled using the Continuous Flight Auger (CFA) method. Alongside the contiguous piled wall, Bachy Soletanche Ltd also constructed ten convert|1200|mm|in|0|adj=on diameter LDA plunge column piles and fourteen convert|750|mm|in|0|adj=on diameter bearing piles. [cite web |url= |title=Snow Hill development glides into action | |date=2007-12-18 |accessdate=2008-04-12]

Ten plunge columns were installed on the site for the main access ramp. These consisted of large, steel H-section columns surrounded by pea gravel within their pile casings. Bachy Soletanche installed a basic bored pile with casing and then used its special plunge column rig to achieve the convert|5|mm|in|2 accuracy needed for the positioning of the I section steel columns. A steel frame sitting on the casings, had three sets of hydraulic rams for precision adjustment of the central steel while it was fixed with around convert|5|m|ft|0|abbr=on of concrete at the pile base. As site excavation progressed, these were slowly being exposed again. PC Harrington is doing the excavation and the concreting of the base whilst Altius will commence the main construction works.cite web|url= |title=Down town |publisher=New Civil Engineer |author=Adrian Greeman |date=2007-12-12 |accessdate=2008-01-02] The crane base for TC1, the second tower crane, was delivered to the site on January 30, 2008. The crane was assembled on February 16, however, not to the anticipated convert|82|m|ft|0|abbr=on.

The slipform structure was assembled on April 14, 2008 and construction of the core for the residential tower commenced on April 23, 2008. As of May 9, the core has risen above street level, and is continuing to rise. The slipform structure for two cores for the hotel structure were assembled in late July 2008 and was above street level by the start of August 2008.

In August 2008, Ballymore announced that a review of the phasing and timing of the construction schedule is to be undertaken, which could lead to a delay in the construction of the residential tower as a result of the economic conditions. [cite news|url= |title=Credit crunch threatens two major tower schemes |last=Pow |first=Helen |date=2008-08-12 |work=Building Design |publisher=BD-Online |accessdate=2008-08-12] [cite news|url= |title=Property downturn could halt Snow Hill tower building |last=Dale |first=Paul |date=2008-08-06 |publisher="The Birmingham Post" |accessdate=2008-08-12] Despite this, a spokesperson for the developers denied that construction on the project will be halted. [cite web|url= |title=Downturn forces developer to postpone €625m UK tower |last=Buckley |first=Donal |date=2008-08-12 |publisher="" |accessdate=2008-08-12]

Phase 4

Construction of Phase 4 is expected to commence in July 2008. As of May 2008, the site has been cleared of mobile cabins, and there is a small crane on site, along with diggers. On May 29, 2008, a Soilmec SR-70 hydraulic rotary rig owned by Bachy Solentache began work on drilling piles on the site.

t. Chad's Circus

The realignment and reconfiguration of St Chad's Circus on the Inner Ring Road freed up extra space on the Snowhill site to allow the construction of Phase 3. The contract for this work was awarded to Birse Civils. [cite web| url= |title=Ballymore names Birse Civils for Snow Hill redevelopment |publisher="Birmingham Post" (republished by Highbeam) |date=2006-01-16 |accessdate=2008-02-01] A pedestrian crossings and a landscaped public square in front of St Chad's Cathedral are to be created as a result of the work. Work on the Snow Hill Queensway commenced on July 24, 2006 and the work on St Chad's Circus commenced on August 10, 2006 with the removal of the subways beneath the site. St. Chad's Circus was turned into two linked traffic signal controlled T-junctions. In addition, re-waterproofing and structural improvements to the St Chad's underpass were carried out above the tunnel. Work on Snow Hill Queensway was completed in January 2007. The St Chad's Circus slip roads were closed temporarily from January 14, 2007 to May 28, 2007.cite web|url= |title=St Chad's Intersection / Snow Hill Queensway roadworks |publisher=Birmingham City Council |accessdate=2007-12-07] Work on St Chad's Circus was expected to be completed in October 2007, however, good weather conditions resulted in work being completed in July 2007. [cite web| url= |title=City centre roadworks misery almost over |publisher="Birmingham Mail" (republished by icBirmingham) |date=2007-05-31 |accessdate=2007-12-07] Landscape work on the new square was completed in December 2007 and was designed by Macfarlane Wilder. [cite web|url= |title=Snow Hill, Birmingham |publisher=Macfarlane Wilder |accessdate=2008-04-26]


The construction of Phase 2 is aided by two tower cranes on either side of the structure. The cranes used at Phase 2 are the Liebherr 200 EC-H10 and the flat top Liebherr 200 EC-B 10. [cite web |url= |title=Kier buys 17 new towers |publisher="Cranes Today" |accessdate=2008-02-01]

For the work at basement level at Phase 3, Bachy Soletanche used two convert|50|t|LT|0|adj=on support cranes and two Bauer BG 22 piling rigs. Construction of Phase 3 is being assisted by three tower cranes. The first crane to be assembled, TC3, is to be the shortest of the three tower cranes. It has a maximum height of convert|45|m|ft|0|abbr=on and has a luffing jib. It was built in one stage. It is a free standing crane and will allow podium level construction. Once construction at podium level is completed, it will be dismantled and replaced by two number gantry joists."Supporting Statement Crane Strategy - Planning application number C/00391/07/FUL", submitted 2007-01-23 (Accessed 2007-12-07)]

The second tallest crane, TC2, was initially be assembled to convert|68.5|m|ft|0|abbr=on under the hook. This will allow the hotel tower to be constructed to level 12. It will then be extended in height to convert|99.8|m|ft|0|abbr=on under the hook with a tie to the hotel tower at convert|53.4|m|ft|0|abbr=on (level 11). This will allow the hotel tower to be constructed to full height. The tallest of the cranes, TC1, was expected to be initially be built to convert|82|m|ft|0|abbr=on under the hook and to allow the residential tower to be built to level 14. However, it was constructed to a lower height. It will be extended to convert|113.4|m|ft|0|abbr=on with a tie to the residential tower at convert|57.7|m|ft|0|abbr=on up. This will allow the residential tower to be built to level 26. After this, it will be extended up to convert|130|m|ft|0|abbr=on with an additional tie to the tower at convert|84.7|m|ft|0|abbr=on (level 21). This will allow the tower to be built up to level 36. It will be extended again once more to convert|154|m|ft|0|abbr=on with a third tie convert|114.7|m|ft|0|abbr=on up (level 31), which will allow the tower to go to full height. It is expected that TC1 and TC2 will be dismantled at around the same time.

TC3 and TC2 are Wolff 180B luffing jib tower cranes whilst TC1 has a fixed jib.

ee also

*Birmingham Redevelopment Scheme
*List of tallest buildings and structures in Birmingham


External links

* [ Snowhill Official Site]
* [ Hotel at Snowhill]
* [ Ballymore website]
* [ Phase 3 on Glenn Howells]
* [ Sidell Gibson Architects]
* [ Snow Hill Residential Tower on]
* [ Snow Hill Hotel Tower on]
* [ Snow Hill Building One on]
* [ Snow Hill Building Two on]

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