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GS Group conquers challenging listed building refurbishment

Lincoln’s Inn-13 crop
GS Group overhauled all the kitchen and cafe/servery areas of The Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn.

GS Group has undertaken the refurbishment of all the kitchen and cafe/servery areas of The Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn in central London.

The Grade II listed building is a society of barristers, located on a large estate of historic buildings, contemporary facilities, and peaceful grounds.

Having won the contract through Graham Construction, GS Group were enlisted onto the £20m conservation and extension programme onto the building’s Grade II listed Great Hall (1845) and Library (1873).  The site is situated within the Bloomsbury Conservation area and so, demanded specialist design and construction methodologies to preserve the heritage and historic importance of the iconic buildings, which form the collegiate heart of the building.

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The distributor assisted the design process with the end user’s catering consultant, advising on layout and selection of equipment. It also supplied and installed the commercial catering equipment including all of the refrigeration and air conditioning.

Part of the project requirements was to meet with the builder to discuss the requirements and needs of the end-users and the GS Group team had regular meetings on-site to discuss the programme and progression of installation. The firm also worked with shopfitting trades, as instructed by the builder, and the distributor’s fabricators, to ensure servery areas were built following the design.

GS Group’s own sub-contractors, including the ventilation and canopy specialists, coldroom, counter and fabrication manufacturers and fitters, were all managed by the company itself. It reported that a good working relationship was quickly established with the M&E contractor due to the complexity of the project, with many outfalls being found during the build process, which is often common on refurbishments of old buildings.

The distributor reported that the project was not without its challenges, especially in terms of logistics and spatial requirements when incorporating new services into the Grade II listed building.  Due to the central London location of the site it was deemed logistically hard to persuade the council to close the main road and GS Group continued to manage the completion of the project while the main road was remained in use. All equipment had to be sized and approved so that it could be delivered via this route and then had to be transported up in the lift.

The basement walls were tanked to allow water to pass through into a drainage channel, so, using a specific size fixing for wall-mounted items was critical as to not pierce the plastic tanking membrane.

The Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn continued to operate during the extensive fit-out, so considering the safety of the public was also a large part of GS Group’s responsibility.

By remaining flexible throughout the delivery of the project, the firm reported it was able to plan ahead and not commit to any items that could change, saying that this was invaluable when there were several unforeseen issues with the structure of the building which impacted on the programme of works.

Graham Construction senior project manager Mike Davaney praised: “It is my pleasure to recommend GS Group based on its performance working for Graham Construction at our prestigious £20m project for the Honourable Society of Lincolns Inn, Great Hall and Library Project.

“Although the project was extremely challenging, GS Group’s professional attitude and ability to overcome a variety of problems impressed me.

“The senior project management had regular site attendance to monitor progress and standard of installation. Any issues raised during these visits were dealt with promptly and in a timely manner.”

He detailed: “The client was delighted with the quality of the finished product and this was achieved through the protocols and in house procedures set out internally within the GS Group.

“I would not hesitate to recommend GS Group for future works and look forward to working with Karl Jones and his team again.”

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Clare Nicholls

The author Clare Nicholls

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