Case Study - The White Chapel Building Refurbishment, London, UK

Project data

  • Customer
  • Derwent London
  • Area
  • 270,000 sq ft
  • Procurement route
  • Two stage D&B
  • Form of contract
  • JCT Standard 2011
  • Completion date
  • July 2018
  • Project Manager
  • Blackburn & Co.
  • Architect
  • Fletcher Priest
  • Quantity Surveyor
  • Aecom
  • Structural Engineer
  • Elliot Wood
  • M&E Engineer
  • NDY

Introduction

We have completed the works on phase one and two of The White Chapel Building, which is part of client Derwent London’s portfolio of buildings. Following on from completion of phase one in 2016, we completed phase two in July 2018 and working closely with the new tenant, Fotografiska, and, Derwent London, completed the scheme in line with the tenant’s vision and timeframe.

The project

Split across two phases, phase one began in 2015. The works included the strip out and refurbishment of floors one to seven and a full redevelopment of the ground floor, plus the creation of a new stand-out entrance.

Phase two works consisted of refurbishing and extending the lower floors of the building, coupled with installations of a new external structure, unique galvanised cladding, height glazed screen and new lifts. The external staircase and public walkway was also remodelled

The first phase of the project was fully let within seven months of completion, with new tenants including GDS, Wilmington, Perkins+Will and Reddie & Grose, whilst phase two was pre-let in its entirety to Fotografiska and operates as the London School of Photography.

Challenges

Across both phases the team worked closely with Transport for London (TfL) due to the proximity of the Aldgate and Aldgate East underground stations, ensuring that there was no disruption to the underground network. There was also the laying of a new cycle super highway outside the building that was given priority access and so the external works had to be coordinated around this. A strong working relationship with TfL helped to ensure effective delivery. For phase two there was also a requirement for a temporary road closure, which was also completed with minimum disruption across two weekend periods.

Working in a live environment also presented challenges as the higher floors were already occupied. The project team held weekly meetings with the tenants to keep them up to date on all works and developments. Minimising disruption to tenants was of paramount importance to our client and a key element of the project’s resulting success.

Sustainability

As part of our commitment to the places in which we work, we provide skills and employment opportunities for our local communities which also helps us to promote the wide variety of careers in construction. On this project we employed four apprentices across a total of 38 weeks, whilst also providing ‘traineeships’ and work experience placements to two young people. On the apprenticeships, we had two electricians, a joiner, and a construction operations and civil engineer.