Law firm returns positive verdict on custom kitchen

A leading international law firm is preparing to move into a new Birmingham HQ housing a £450,000 catering facility to feed its staff.

Wragge & Co — which merged with City firm Lawrence Graham to become Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co earlier this month — is due to begin working from the 250,000 square foot premises at Two Snowhill this summer.

Extensive catering facilities were required for the operation, so foodservice design consultants Humble Arnold was brought in to draw up the plans.

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Catering equipment distributor ScoMac was subsequently awarded the project by main contractor Wates on a ‘design & build’ contract, taking the original Humble Arnold design intent and providing a ‘value engineered’ option with the view of making savings for the client without devaluing the original intent.

ScoMac offered a number of cost-saving options, which included custom kitchen fabrication and bespoke servery counters produced by itself and a number of alternative suppliers for the prime cooking, refrigeration and warewashing items.

The client and main contractor opted to go with the ScoMac-manufactured elements but decided to retain the core of what was originally specified for the main kitchen equipment. That includes cooking equipment from Ambach, Baron and Rational, as well as refrigeration from Foster.

“The overall specification for the whole building is very high and I believe we have managed to maintain this across all areas of the installation that we have completed,” said ScoMac’s managing director, Iain Munro.

“The whole project from order stage has taken ScoMac 12 months from design to development, including the design of stainless steel service runs in the windows to meet the landlords’ requirements as these could not be fixed at any point to the window structure and the services co-ordination from the 13th and 14th floors to the plant room on the top of the building.”

Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co’s catering team moved into the property this month to familiarise themselves with the new set-up ahead of the main relocation.

Munro says the job was a great example of how value engineering can be carried out without reducing the initial intent or quality of the equipment or finishes anticipated.

“The client was discerning enough to recognise the alternative solutions being offered by ScoMac met his expectations without compromising the original intent; additionally he also understood the merits in sticking with the original specification in other areas such as Ambach prime cooking, Rational combination ovens and Foster refrigeration.”

Munro admits that the project’s evolution from a traditional client specification to a ‘design & build’ contract did put a strain on its relationship with Humble Arnold but says the client remains satisfied with the outcome.

“The end result of this job does, in my opinion, demonstrate how value engineering does not mean poor quality and the main contractor and end-user client has indicated they are very pleased with what ScoMac delivered,” he said.

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