• Conservation projects

Let’s build together

Panmure House

Location: Edinburgh

Summary: Refurbishment, extension and fit-out of a Grade A listed building to provide accommodation for Edinburgh Business School.

Description of Works: Panmure House, a Grade A listed building and former residence of economist Adam Smith, has been sympathetically refurbished and reconfigured for Edinburgh Business School to provide flexible accommodation for lectures, performances and seminars, including a Reading Room, Lecture Room, offices, kitchen and toilet facilities.

Works included:

  • Downtakings/demolition works including removal of a 1950’s extension and removal of timber floors, internal walls and staircase
  • Reducing external areas in preparation for a basement extension (including archaeology investigations)
  • Structural works including new structural floors, the provision of a traditional pencheck stair to access all levels and a passenger lift
  • Fit-out works including partition walls, mechanical & electrical services and traditional finishes including timber panelling
  • Steel-framed extension to provide an entrance foyer
  • External works including rubble stone perimeter wall, hard landscaping, feature stone steps and a concealed platform lift

Added Value:

A key element was the construction of the new Pencheck Stair using Clashach Stone. The stair consisted of 32 Clashach Stone treads ranging in size and weight, up to 260kg.

Whilst the construction of the stair posed its own technical challenges, including the construction of a lifting frame from the basement to the second floor to allow the stair units to be lifted into place, the main issue was ensuring that the Clashach stone was of suitable quality and could be provided to meet the programme requirements.

The size of the stone required to produce each stair was considerably bigger than would be normally generated during blasting from the quarry. This created two initial problems: there was no guarantee on when the stone could be delivered and the units were being supplied out of sequence, as any time a stone large enough was produced it was cut to size at the quarry and sent for carving in Glasgow.

Extended hours were worked to achieve the programme installation dates of the stair with other works being re-sequenced to assist in the completion of the stair, due to this element being on the critical path.

We proposed an alternative lime plaster specification in order to avoid potential delays from curing times of traditional lime plaster.  Specification was approved and time saved of around 4 weeks helped to alleviate delays incurred by the stone availability for the staircase.


  • shortlisted for RICS Awards 2019, Scotland – Building Conservation