Office seating

23 Stephenson Street, Government Property Agency (GPA), Birmingham, UK

Delivering the UK public sector’s ‘best employee workplace experience’ and bringing together government departments to improve efficiency and collaboration. 

Performance to GPA is...

  • Enhancing user experience and accessibility to key services and resources
  • Centralising government departments in regional areas
  • Reducing carbon emissions, operating and running costs
  • Customer
    Government Property Agency (GPA)
  • Procurement Route
    Framework: Two-stage
  • Completion Date
    October 2021
  • Value
  • Form Of Contract
    JCT Design & Build
  • Project Manager
  • Area
  • Program Duration
    43 weeks
  • Architect
    TP Bennett
  • ME Engineer

The Government Property Agency’s (GPA) Birmingham Hub at 23 Stephenson Street is the UK’s first next generation multi-departmental hub building. The space brings together 20 government departments to streamline services and provide a dynamic, collaborative and inclusive space for 1,700 civil servants.

One of three projects delivered by ISG for the GPA under the Government Hubs Programme, 23 Stephenson Street is now recognised as one of the best in the agency’s portfolio, having gained Leesman+ certification for employee wellbeing and a BREEAM ‘Very Good’ sustainability rating. 

Office lobby


Our 23 Stephenson Street project was driven by the GPA’s Government Hubs Programme – which aims to transform, level-up and modernise its estate. By bringing strategic government departments together in central locations, the GPA hopes to promote greater collaboration, knowledge sharing, and to enhance efficiency and improve public access to vital services. The government teams had previously been spread across eight different buildings; consolidating them under one roof is estimated to save the taxpayer around £2m per year.

Design and buildability

Designed to foster and promote collaborative and inclusive working practices, this project saw us deliver a CAT-B fit out across 10 floors of an existing 1950s 12-storey building. With reconfigurable spaces, 23 Stephenson Street enables departments, including DEFRA, the NHS and Ministry of Justice, to dynamically flex the floorplan to meet their special requirements.

The former Woolworths’ building in the New Street Conservation area had already been extensively refurbished to CAT-A standard, before the upper floors were let to the government agency. Three retail units at street level remained in operation for the duration of our 43-week programme.

Our project saw us work with the GPA, its architects and design teams to deliver this first project in a batch of 17 hubs rolled out across the UK, including developing and delivering a design guide to be used as a benchmark across the wider programme.

Each of the 20 governmental departments housed in the building was responsible for the development and design of its space within the floorplan. We worked with AECOM, AtkinsRéalis and the GPA to finalise the design and cost plan with each individual stakeholder to ensure design and cost efficiencies, implementing the Government Soft Landings (GSL) approach.

Six sectional handovers allowed for the swift occupation of the building, and the absorption of additional works and variations into the tight programme. 

"The Birmingham Hub represents another significant achievement for the GPA’s Government Hubs Programme and our ambition to deliver great places to work across the UK. The formerly disused retail space is now refurbished into a modern, digitally connected and inclusive workspace for civil servants across government with greater energy efficiency and smarter ways of working."

Clive Anderson, GPA Director of Capital Projects


23 Stephenson Street, bounded by New Street and Stephenson Street, sits at the heart of the city centre, with tramlines, and Birmingham New Street Station a stone’s throw from the building’s main entrance.

Challenging logistics, service integration and overlap with the contractor delivering the CAT-A fit out, saw our teams work collaboratively with a number of stakeholders, including the GPA, its project manager Aecom, AtkinsRéalis, landlord La Salle and developer Evenacre. 

Fit out

Works included the erection of new partitions, glass walls, highly secure rooms and tea service points, the installation of new lighting, doors and fixtures, general redecoration, and mechanical and electrical and IT service integrations to suit the proposed layouts. There was also additional reconfiguration of the basement level, featuring the formation of a new mail room with stand-alone ventilation system, IT equipment store, white lining to the car park and internal decoration. 

Adhering to the client’s request for an enhanced customer experience and public accessibility, we fitted a bright and spacious reception area, communal break out areas, and cycle racking, shower and changing facilities in the basement.

Delivered during the COVID-19 pandemic, we identified the need to contact suppliers early to build contingencies around Brexit and COVID-19. Thanks to this approach our M&E and drylining contractors were able to purchase items early and store them on site, ready for construction work. Not only did this prepare us for material shortages, but it also aided site logistics, being in the heart of Birmingham, pedestrian and tram routes around site made deliveries difficult. 

Social value

Our teams worked collaboratively with the community, local employment agencies and the contractor delivering the Cat-A fit out to ensure the project left a legacy of social value.

Reuse and recycling – We worked with the previous contractor to maintain the existing site welfare, which reduced initial costs for the client, alongside reducing waste and promoting efficiency. In total 70 per cent of waste on site was recycled.

Supply chain and local employment – Engaging with local employment agencies, including Rising Stars – which supports vulnerable people into work – we ensured 80% of the workforce lived within 30 miles of site. As part of our supply chain management, we reached out to companies across the West Midlands to ensure the local business community from the project, with 80% of the supply chain sourced from within 30 miles. The site supported the development and learning of three ISG apprentices and two graduates.

80% local labour
70% of waste diverted from landfill 
80% local supply chain


One of three projects delivered by ISG for the GPA under the Government Hubs Programme via the CCS Framework, 23 Stephenson Street is now recognised as one of the best in the agency’s portfolio, having gained Leesman+ certification for employee wellbeing and a BREEAM ‘Very Good’ sustainability rating. 

Building performance

Evaluation of the fit out since 2021 shows the team delivered a space that continues to perform, the sustainability of the building is ‘Very Good’ following our implementation of intelligent lighting and sustainable energy sources.

In March 2023, the GPA achieved Leesman+ certification for its Birmingham Hub. This score places 23 Stephenson Street, Birmingham in the top spot for employee workplace experience in UK’s public sector. What’s more, only 202 buildings have achieved this certification globally. This positions GPA’s Birmingham Hub in the top 2% of global workplace spaces.

Positive user experiences from governmental employees also reflect in the GPA’s average satisfaction score (as rated by building users). The average score across GPA-run government estates is 69%, but for the Birmingham Hub there is a 76% satisfaction rating.

BREEAM Very Good
Leesman+ Certified
In top 2% of workplaces
2 construction workers looking out a window

Interior fit out services

Now more than ever, spaces reflect the brands they house. Today’s workplace must champion wellbeing, articulate values, and entice gifted talent through the door, while for retail and hospitality destinations, it’s about attracting customers and supreme customer service.