Refurbishment of iconic Birmingham landmarks set city up for historical year

Industry News

Birmingham’s Town Hall, City Council building and Museum and Art Gallery were all built in the 1800s and hold immense historical and cultural significance for the city. Located in and around Chamberlain Square, the three have been a core part of Birmingham’s identity for nearly two centuries. 

In 2022, ahead of Birmingham hosting the Commonwealth Games as well as several heads of state, T.O.L. Decorators Ltd had the honour of delivering key refurbishment works to all three landmark buildings and their 3,000 rooms.  

A rich history of colour

One of the main challenges faced by the team was the need to match the paintwork’s original Victorian colour scheme – a critical aspect of preserving the historical authenticity of each building. To ensure the match was exact, T.O.L. Decorators used the PPG ColourScanner to get a precise reading of the original colour palette so they could specify the exact shades that would blend in seamlessly – with an incredible 230 shades of Johnstone’s Trade paint used in total.  

“This was a complex project with a lot of moving parts, tight deadlines and a pressure to preserve and enhance the iconic look of the historical sites,” said Tim O’Leary, director at T.O.L. Decorators. “PPG provided support from the very start of the project right through to the end, and it’s great to be able to rely on not only the paint, but also on the technical teams to provide consultancy for challenging jobs like this.” 

The right product choice  

T.O.L. Decorators needed to apply all its experience and skills to refurbish the intricate Victorian steelwork, ceiling designs, panel detailing and wall coves. The team worked closely with PPG’s technical experts to select the most suitable products for the job, taking on board technical guidance and expertise to meet the specification required.  

More than 4,000 litres of paint were used across the three buildings, including Johnstone’s Trade Covaplus Vinyl Matt. The high-quality matt emulsion is an ideal choice for interior walls and ceilings, and offers excellent levels of opacity, coverage and application. 

To ensure the redecoration would stand the test of time, the contractor also used Johnstone’s Trade Acrylic Durable Matt – a premium quality and minimal-VOC coating that provides an extremely touch and stain resistant finish for high-traffic areas – and Aqua Guard, the most durable water-based satin paint for interior wood and metal from Johnstone’s Trade.  

A show of craftsmanship 

With a strict deadline in place to deliver this mammoth task ahead of the Commonwealth Games in July 2022, the pressure was on, and T.O.L. Decorators worked with more than 200 tradespeople to complete the refurbishment of the 3,000 rooms to the very highest standard.  

“The scale of this project is something to behold, and the team at T.O.L. Decorators displayed incredible strategy and craftsmanship to get everything completed with such high attention to detail within the timeframe given,” said Tony Walker, technical specification controller at PPG. “Every area of the building was sympathetically refurbished with more than 230 colours used, and the quality of work couldn’t be higher. In fact, the project was shortlisted for the Johnstone’s Painter of the Year Awards this year and the team received great recognition for its scale and execution from peers and industry experts. A huge well done to everyone involved.”  

To learn more about the Johnstone’s Painter of the Year Awards and enter your own 2023 projects for next year’s awards, visit: https://zealous.co/johnstonespoty/opportunity/Johnstone-s-Trade-Painter-of-the-Year-Awards-1/  

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