Construction of Aberdeenshire Council’s new Buchan headquarters passed its first major milestone today.
The steel skeleton of the £5million-plus Buchan House was being swung into place at Peterhead this morning.
The ambitious project, led by Robertson Construction, began in April and is on schedule to finish next spring.
The building will bring all local council services under one roof, meaning nine offices in and around the town, which will be left vacant once the new HQ is up and running, will be put on the market.
The current council base, Arbuthnot House on Broad Street, is already up for sale. A recent study suggested it would be suitable for a hotel.
Selling off assets is likely to generate more then £1.5million for the local authority. Councillors have called for a marketing strategy to be put in place to avoid the buildings lying empty for too long.
Buchan House will have office space for up to 200 staff as well as committee and marriage rooms. It will also be home to the area manager’s office and registrar, as well as public toilets.
Renewable energy sources including solar panels and a biomass heating plant will be installed in an effort to reduce running costs.
The local authority estimates the new offices will save almost £180,000 a year, bringing costs down from £378,000 to £200,000.
Council provost Jill Webster said the building was “one of the most significant developments in Peterhead for many years.”
A report approved by councillors earlier this year estimated the total cost of building Buchan House at just under £5.7million.