Bagnalls Wins Dulux Connect Project Management Award For Stand-out Liverpool Library Restoration


Regarded as one of the most beautiful library spaces in the world, the Picton Reading Room in Liverpool Central Library boasts a magnificent domed ceiling that has awed visitors for over a century.

But having remained untouched for two decades, it was in serious need of restoration.

The North West Branch of painting and decorating company Bagnalls were chosen to carry out the work, but were soon confronted with a series of logistical challenges that they overcame with aplomb.

“It was a requirement that the contractor had to carry out the work in a very tight timescale because the library was completely closed to the public whilst the works were being undertaken,” Joanne Gualda, Group Marketing Director at Bagnalls, explains.

“They also had to make sure the contractor would be very sympathetic to the environment and protect various aspects of the reading room. In the middle we had to shield a central light fitting so it didn't get damaged and all the shelves had to be protected properly.

“We have a reputation for professional project delivery, so everything was done properly and in agreement with the customer and in line with what the customer wanted. Nothing was too much trouble for our site team.”

For their stand-out skill in managing such a complex brief, Bagnalls were awarded a Dulux Connect Award for Project Management.

With a timescale of just four weeks, the team of four decorators - supervised by Kevin Travers - used cherry pickers to allow for precise, close-up decorating and to ensure high levels could be safely accessed by the painters.

 To get the machinery into the building, external scaffolding and a crane were erected to allow them to be lifted to the library’s higher platforms, which Bernie Smith, Senior Contract Manager at Bagnalls, says was the most challenging aspect of the job.

“Getting the access equipment in there required careful planning because we had a crane involved, scaffolding erected outside of the building and road closures in place - logistically it was a nightmare,” he says.

The team then carried out plaster repairs to ceiling bays before the ceiling and mouldings were spot primed and given two full coats of Dulux Trade Vinyl Matt paint. Dulux Heritage was used for a like-for-like  match of colours already on the dome - essential  when painting listed buildings.

By extending their working hours, the team finished the job with time to spare - and without compromising on quality.

“We actually completed the project in three weeks, which they were happy with because they could get the library up and running again,” says Bernie.

The feedback received from the library was incredibly positive, with the Manager of the  Central Library and Archive commenting: “The room looks magnificent once again and the work carried out should last for many years to come.

“All of the planned work has been completed successfully, including repairs to the plaster at high level, full repainting of the dome and other areas using the original colour scheme, deep cleaning of the carpet, cleaning of the oculus and cleaning throughout at all levels, and re-lamping.”

And Bagnalls were “delighted” when they found out they had won the Dulux Connect Award for Project Management.

“I notified the team involved with the project and every single one of them was over the moon to be recognised for the project management side of the contract and not just the paint finish,” Joanne says.

“The logistics that Bernie and Kev had to organise to make sure every aspect of it would be on time, with good safety levels and to meet customer expectations had to be done so correctly.

“The final painting, even though it's beautiful, is almost the easy part for us, so the award for project management is a really nice accolade and something that we really appreciate from a painting contractor point of view because we don't normally get recognised for that aspect.”

Bernie adds: “Me and the guys are absolutely delighted to win. I've been at Bagnalls for 33 years now and in 33 years, that's the most iconic job I've ever done.”

To find out more about Bagnalls, visit:

Fetching the data, plz wait..