BUILDING works on a new office for 900 employees have reached a new milestone, overcoming the coronavirus crisis.

The new Teville Gate House in Worthing was “topped out” on Wednesday. Council and business leaders laid the final paving slab on the building’s roof.

The five-storey office block will house 900 HM Revenue and Customs employees when it is expected to open next spring.

Worthing Borough Council leader Councillor Daniel Humphreys said the project will bring “huge benefits” to the town.

“Teville Gate House will boost local business and support our ongoing work to improve the vitality of the borough and to make the train station a more welcoming approach into Worthing,” he said.

“It is fantastic to see the project on course to bring huge benefits to Worthing and we want to congratulate the team for their hard work to make this possible.”

Construction on the building began last year after the original derelict Teville Gate House was knocked down.

Building work was paused in March due the coronavirus pandemic.

But construction restarted just a month later with social distancing measures in place, builders McLaughlin and Harvey said.

“The site has a one-way system throughout and additional welfare units were brought in, to allow staff to use facilities with 2 metre distancing,” said contracts manager Conor McKenna.

“A return to work via a ‘soft start’ was implemented with resource levels increased week on week, allowing workers to familiarise themselves with the new working environment.

“We have cut down travel massively and our meetings are held online or outside.

“We remain proactive in reviewing the impact the pandemic continues to have on our supply chain, relating particularly to resource and material availability, with procurement dates adjusted and parts of the project rescheduled accordingly.

“We have managed to mitigate the challenges and received very positive feedback when we were inspected recently by auditors, who described our site as an exemplar.”

John McGregor, director of site owner Teville Gate House Limited, said the project was a story of “hard work and common sense”.

“We are extremely proud to reach this point and it is a testament to all our partners in the project that we have been able to get through the difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and to make such progress,” he said.

Alan Tume of HM Revenue and Customs said: “We are pleased to be recognising this milestone in the construction of our new specialist site, despite the challenges over recent months.

“We have worked with our partners to ensure work continues in the safest way possible to deliver what will be a fantastic new building for our people.

“We are really looking forward to seeing how the development of the site by McLaughlin and Harvey progresses, before the internal fit out work starts on our new office.

“Once complete, we will bring our team into Teville Gate House, which will provide colleagues with modern, flexible and collaborative working environments.”

The Teville Gate House development is separate to the recently-approved development for flats and shops on the Teville Gate site.

Borough councillors gave the go-ahead in March for developer Mosaic Global Investments to build 378 flats, a hotel, a gym, a supermarket, and spaces for shops. The site’s future had been in limbo for a number of years.