Metropolitan Police headquarters

Back to the future as Scotland Yard returns to its roots

Few images are as iconic as the revolving, steel three-sided sign outside New Scotland Yard. That sign has now has been relocated to London’s Metropolitan Police Service’s new headquarters on Victoria Embankment. But the move actually marks a homecoming for the force.

The old New Scotland Yard familiar from so many news reports was a 1962 slab-sided office block which was too large for the force’s headquarter and would have needed a multi-million pound refurbishment to bring it up to modern standards.

So decision was taken to move to the neo-classical Curtis Green building on Victoria Embankment (named after its architect). This in turn was renamed ‘New Scotland Yard’ when it the Metropolitan Police occupied the refurbished building at the end of 2016.

The building was originally created as an annexe to the adjacent Norman Shaw buildings, which themselves housed the Metropolitan Police HQ from 1890 to 1967.

Project details

  • Client: MOPAC/Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime
  • Main Contractor: BAM Construction
  • Architect: AHMM
  • Quantity Surveyor: EC Harris
  • Structural Engineer: Arup
  • Clients Project Manager: EC Harris
  • MEP Consultant: Arup
  • Value: £58m
  • Completed: October 2016

View related projects

Expanding public access

The challenge was to transform this 1930s structure into a “modern, well equipped and efficient new headquarters fit for the 21st century”.

The competition to redesign the building, run jointly by the Office of the London Mayor and RIBA (the Royal Institute of British Architects), was won by architects AHMM. And BAM was named as the main contractor for the construction.

The most obvious outward sign of the refurbishment is the striking new entrance – part of the Met’s remit to make their flagship building more open and accessible. The building has also been extended and new public spaces created.

“This new building, in the heart of Westminster and close to the Met’s founding location, incorporates the proud past, present and future of policing in the Capital.”

Cressida Dick

Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service

Practical, cost-effective… and sustainable

The original brief for the project focused heavily on cost-effective sustainability and on making sure the refurbished building sits comfortably in its environment: although it’s not listed, it is surrounded by Grade 1 and Grade 2 buildings and streetscapes.

For BAM, the challenge was to work sensitively with an historic building and a high-profile client. The stakes were high, as the project needed to be practical, cost effective and efficient, while also using good quality materials from sustainable sources.  

London calling

BAM had already worked with AHMM on other complex and sensitive schemes in London, including the refurbished Angel Building in Islington.

Our teams were well used to delivering these kinds of high-profile projects in challenging city-centre locations: from £170 million Eastern Goods Yard project at Kings Cross to the flagship CONNECT110NS building in Queen Street, Glasgow and the City Council Offices in Derby.

Not only did the project team successfully deliver this complex refurbishment, but the scheme has scooped numerous accolades, including two RIBA Awards, as well as the prestigious Building Magazine Project of the Year 2017.

Soft Landings

As the hub of the Metropolitan Police’s operation, New Scotland Yard had to be fully operational from the moment the force occupied the building. One of the keys to the successful transition from the old HQ was the ‘soft landings’ approach.

A Soft Landings Technician (SLT) from BAM’s Facilities Management (FM) business started working on site with the BAM construction team ahead of practical completion, to learn about the design, the systems and the building itself.

The SLT worked closely with the services engineering and construction teams throughout the commissioning process, to understand how each piece of equipment (major or minor) is operated and maintained, as well as reviewing operations and maintenance manuals to make sure they were suitable for the Metropolitan Police’s maintenance team.

For 12 months after practical completion, the SLT remained on site to work with the customers’ in-house FM team and guide them through the operations and maintenance processes for the building, to ensure a seamless transition from construction to occupation.