Birmingham City Council


Building Construction

Contract Type

5 year project valued at £188m

The challenge –  To deliver a world-class public library which would serve three million visitors a year

Birmingham City Council’s ambitions for the new library were that it should be world-class and a flagship project in the heart of the city, playing an important part in the regeneration of Birmingham. The library also had to integrate with the neighbouring Rep theatre at ground and mezzanine levels, as well as including a studio theatre.

The project also had to deliver social value by creating jobs and training opportunities, engaging with local people and using local suppliers.

The solutions we created – a blueprint for integrating benefits to the whole community

From day one the Carillion team took responsibility for designs and cost plans. The aim was to go beyond the short term ‘wish list’ by setting long term goals to meet the needs of the future library users. The focus was on what would be exceptional when the project was completed and beyond.

Over five years the £188m project took shape in the heart of the city under the gaze of residents and visitors. The Carillion team was committed to minimising disruption to people living and working close to the site and to getting involved with the local community. Regular newsletters were produced and Carillion people helped residents of a local tower block create a garden space to grow fruit and veg and gave talks about careers in construction.

A comprehensive sustainability programme was developed alongside Birmingham City Council’s ‘Big City Plan.’ Working with the Employment Access Team, Carillion committed to provide 250 new jobs for local people, of which 25 would be apprentices, with recruitment targeted at high priority areas in the city where unemployment was highest.

Outcomes, benefits & social value – creating a legacy of best practice and sustainability

The project was completed on time and to budget providing 20 per cent more space than the previous Birmingham Central Library. Since it opened the Library of Birmingham has won a host of awards and is recognised as a fantastic facility which people in the city have taken to their hearts.

Working with Birmingham City Council’s Employment Access Team, the target for creating local jobs and apprenticeships was exceeded with 308 jobs created and 82 young people brought into apprenticeships on site. The project also provided 30 homeless people with work placements with 17 finding employment. Through an onsite training facility 73 people gained NVQ qualifications.

Carillion handed over the iconic new Library of Birmingham in 2013, one of the biggest public libraries in the world.


Considerate Constructors Gold Award 2012

Considerate Constructors Scheme Awards 2013

Considerate Constructors Gold Award 2013

National Skills Academy for Construction Awards 2012 – winner, Project Contribution to Skills Leadership

National Skills Academy for Construction Awards 2012 – winner, Individual Contribution to National Skills Academy for Construction.

Guardian Sustainable Business Award for Social Impact

Construction News Award for Major Project of the Year

Project of the Year – West Midlands Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors awards

Design Through Innovation Award – West Midlands Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors awards

Project of the Year – West Midlands Regional Constructing Excellence Awards

Integration and Collaborative Working Award – West Midlands Regional Constructing Excellence Awards


Outdated Browser -

Unfortunately this website does not support your choice of browser. Please upgrade here