After 137 years of being based in its historic workplace in Birmingham’s Newhall Street, Assay Office Birmingham is now safely re-established and up and running in its new specialised contemporary headquarters in Moreton Street. It required many years of searching for a suitable site, deliberating what was required and planning a purpose-built facility to enable the Assay Office to develop new opportunities. This week, that vision has become a reality.
The new state-of-the-art building in Birmingham’s thriving Jewellery Quarter opens up many opportunities for the organisation. A more flexible floor plan means that departments within Assay Office Birmingham can be expanded more easily and new equipment slotted into place without fuss. Working conditions are better for all staff and the security measures available to protect employees, customers and stock, which was a key driver for the move, are second to none.
The first department within The Assay Office to be completely installed was AnchorCert Analytical. The laboratory staff now enjoy working within new sleek modern and more efficient surroundings.
In addition to re-accommodating their existing four operational divisions - Hallmarking, AnchorCert Analytical, AnchorCert Gem Lab and SafeGuard Valuations – the Assay Office has also invested in a new facility for use by the local Birmingham and Jewellery Quarter Community and industry as a whole. Training rooms, conference rooms and a spectacular foyer area offer the ideal venue for training, conferences, meetings and other events.
The relocation has been a massive project, as decades of archives, paperwork, staff records and other treasures have been carefully reviewed and the significant items repacked. Favourite punches, pinkies and tools have been carefully bubble-wrapped and labelled, bringing some familiarity to the shiny new building. High-tech equipment has been dangled from a crane and deposited gently into its new position and all divisions of the Assay Office are continuing business without any disruption.
Stella Layton CEO and Assay Master said:
“I am so very proud of my team. The relocation has taken so much time and resource to plan and implement correctly, and it is testament to the spirit and resilience of the Assay Office staff that not only did we achieve this significant milestone on time, we did it without once affecting the service standards and professional delivery our customers have come to rely on us for. Given that the Assay Office has four large divisions to consider, with myriad complexities with regards to relocating equipment and high value goods, this really was no mean feat.”
The new Assay Office, which is in a designated Enterprise Zone within the Jewellery Quarter, is bounded by Icknield Street, Pope Street and Moreton Street.
The new facility which is almost 6,000 square metres over three floors, including a mezzanine, is within easy reach of many local customers as well as having excellent good access to the Ring Road and motorways.
The building project has also been supported by an ERDF grant of £1.478m, which, coupled with the financial incentives of the Enterprise Zone, have enabled the Assay Office to pursue plans for the move despite adverse economic conditions.
Layton added: “There are now so many opportunities for Assay Office Birmingham and for our customers. It is a significant benefit to us to be in such a wonderful, modern and inspiring space, a building that is truly fit for purpose.
“We’re looking forward to the opportunities for new business, service development and continuous improvement that this state-of-the-art facility brings to the Assay Office Birmingham team as well as to existing and future customers too.
“Special thanks must also go to our fantastic development team, which included Project Manager Mark Wright of Trebor Developments, Glazzard Architects of Worcester and construction experts Galliford Try; all were working to a very specific and detailed brief and timescales and all delivered this fantastic building, on budget and on time.”