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The 32-storey Oxygen Towers has been named Best High Volume Housing Development 2022 in the Local Authority Building Control North West regional awards, and has been entered into the LABC national finals in January.

Main contractor Russell WBHO delivered the £80m project, situated in Manchester’s New Islington district, for developer Property Alliance Group. Designed by Jon Matthews Architects, the eye-catching trio of towers has become a new landmark on the Manchester skyline.

Project director Richard Sumner is delighted with LABC’s recognition of the quality of the scheme and the programme which delivered it, and has accepted the award on behalf of the whole project team.

He said: “Oxygen was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for everyone involved. We not only came together to deliver a stunning new residential neighbourhood, but we did so during unprecedented times. I will always be incredibly proud of the whole project team’s success in keeping the site open and productive throughout two years of Covid and delivering a product which, without compromise, fulfils our client’s vision completely.”

The LABC is the national authority for the council officers who oversee correct implementation of building regulations. The professional body awards contractors and schemes which demonstrate adherence to high quality standards and procedures, as well as recognising the successful delivery of a project and client satisfaction at the end result.

“The judges wanted to know about the challenges we faced, how they were overcome, and demonstration of a good working relationship with Manchester City Council’s building control,” said Richard.

“We were able to show how we successfully dealt with the myriad problems presented by the impact of Covid, alongside the challenges typically expected for an £80m high rise build on a tight city centre site, and yet still brought the project in on budget and ahead of programme.

“As with all of our projects, we operate an open and transparent process and adopt a collaborative approach to working with stakeholders and partners. It is important for us to have a good relationship with building control and make their job easier wherever possible. “To that end, we provided a dedicated area on the project information portal for building control information submissions, to make those documents easily accessible for review.

Early in the project we established a regular site walk round for building control to inspect the works. This ensured that any issues were identified and corrected in a timely manner.

“We ensured they were logged on a site visit report and formally closed out with documented evidence, thereby creating a real-time diary of inspections throughout the entire construction phase of the works.”

The building, which rises to 33 storeys at its highest point, houses 369 one and two bedroom apartments, 12 townhouses, a spa with 25m pool, a fully-equipped gym, spin and yoga studio, cinema room, residents’ lounge, basement car parking and a double height reception.

Victoria Russell, Group Director of Brand, Strategy & Partnerships for PAG, oversaw the project for the developer and is thrilled with the LABC win.

She said: “More than 700 people have chosen to make Oxygen their home. This incredible building has allowed us to establish a thriving new community where residents are enjoying the luxury of their own private spaces alongside stunning amenities like the pool, gym, cinema room and co-working spaces.

“Oxygen created unprecedented demand and achieved record sales with all properties sold upon completion and all rental units fully let within the first six months with a long waiting list.

“None of this would have been possible without the dedication and skill of the project partners we brought together to deliver it, led by the hugely knowledgeable and utterly committed team from Russell WBHO. I am thrilled for the team to have received this recognition, it is thoroughly deserved.”

The professional team for Oxygen comprised Jon Matthews Architects, engineers WSP, M&E from CE2 M&E, Design Fire engineering, Complete Sustainability Energy Consultants, Fisher Acoustics, and Manchester City Council Building Control – Manchester City Council.

The full list of winners for the LABC Regional Awards is here.

Oxygen Photography courtesy of Jon Matthews Architects and Daniel Hopkinson Photography.