Bridgewater House

Built in 1912, based on a design by Harry S. Fairhurst, and intended to be a shipping warehouse, Bridgewater House, located in Manchester City Centre, was once a packing and shipping warehouse. The building remained as such for an entire century until, in 2012, Bridgewater House came under new ownership.

This large, eight-storey building is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a Grade II listed building. Architecturally and historically renowned for its distinct Fairhurst design, Bridgewater House is built around large a steel frame, and features cladding of sandstone ashlar, a large loading bay at the rear and a unique driveway system, said to have revolutionised the business of loading and unloading goods.

Originally constructed for Lloyd’s Packing Warehouses Limited, the first offices, show-rooms, and working areas were powered by Manchester’s hydraulic power system and illuminated by gas and later, fluorescent lighting. Today, this is – unsurprisingly – far different.

The grade II-listed building forms part of the Britannia Invest A/S UK-wide office portfolio and APAM Ltd is retained as the property Asset Manager. With a brand new vision in mind for the building, it could only make sense that new energy-efficient and cost-effective lighting should also be installed. After all, older buildings are notoriously inefficient where both heating and lighting are concerned. In structures such as these, switching to the latest LED technology can result in significant energy savings, which not only benefit the environment but in many cases also enhance the charming, characterful aesthetic of the architecture.


As part of an office refurbishment taking place across three floors – the Ground floor, Floor 2 and Floor 7 – of Bridgewater House, the client was looking to replace their old fluorescent lighting for updated LED lighting. All lighting needed to achieve Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) compliance, in line with the client’s commitment to energy savings. This was a Design and Build project, and no consultants were involved. Dextra Lighting were approached by Andy Cook from construction firm Calder Brook Construction to carry out designs and quotes.

Surveying the scene, the existing lighting consisted of old fluorescent T8 and T5 fittings. Dextra calculated significant savings could be made with a switch to powerful and efficient LEDs, all per ECA regulations.

Following our design proposals, Dextra Lighting were awarded the job and were informed that we had been chosen over our competitors due to our higher efficiency in relation to cost and delivery, as well as the quality of our onsite service and assistance.

Bridgewater House is considered a nationally important, Grade 2 listed building, and therefore retains extra legal protection within the planning system. This meant that additional care and consideration needed to be taken to ensure that all designs and installations complied with all listed building restrictions. Thankfully, this did not pose too much of a challenge. There were a couple of listed brick structures – old lift shafts – in the office areas, and these were factored when configuring our design and installation process.

The Client sought to achieve a continuous, black suspended aesthetic throughout all floors undergoing refurbishment. To best attain this, we opted to install Dextra’s Surface and Suspended Runway lighting, which provides a seamless appearance and can be uniquely configured to fulfil both architectural and practical purposes. Incorporating cutting edge midpower LEDs, our Surface and Suspended Runway lighting offers optional energy efficiency while requiring minimal maintenance throughout its lifetime. The lighting comprises slimline housing which can be surface mounted or suspended continuously while combining with corner sections and offering a range of lengths, lumen outputs, and optional bidirectional distribution, to confirm and enhance any space and create an efficient, attractive environment. Additional features such as emergency lighting, white tunable and dimming options allow us to maximise these energy savings further.

This project was an enormous success. The lighting installed was able to be fully compliant with ECA requirements and Grade II listed building restrictions, while achieving the desired aesthetic, and keeping costs down via our energy efficient, low maintenance solutions.

Providing optimal aftercare and maintenance, all Dextra Lighting products installed we supplied with our standard 12-month warranty. Dextra further underwrites this warranty with an ‘enhanced’ 5-year warranty comprising all labour and parts for the first three years and free of charge components for the final two years.


Content correct at time of writing.

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