Williams + Wilcox Bar
We have recently completed our first project for Elstree Studios via PMP Consultants. We undertook the refurbishment of a bar and restaurant located within the grounds of Elstree Studios and were engaged at a very early stage.
Murray & Willis were introduced to Hollman Group (the designers) by PMP consultants, the QS/Project Managers and were tasked with transforming the former Rushes Bar into the stunning Williams + Wilcox Bar that it is today. As we were involved early in the process, Murray & Willis were able to have an input on certain design ideas, allowing us to make sure that the overall design was not only eye catching but practical as well. Working alongside Hollman Group, we took their concept and ideas and turned them into reality.
We were informed early on in the design stage that deadlines were critical to this project, as Elstree Studios had the venue booked for a celebrity party the month after the agreed handover date and therefore meeting this deadline was of the upmost importance.
Not only did we have to make sure deadlines were met, we were working in close proximity to the filming of a highly awarded British TV Show and therefore keeping disruption to a minimum was also very important.
In order to achieve this, Murray & Willis set a meeting with the Managing Director of Elstree Studios to establish filming hours and to ensure that all noisy demolition works were completed during the TV crews down time.
To achieve this, our in-house site manager had daily meetings with the client and therefore no disruption was caused to any of the filming sets at Elstree Studios, we were commended for this on completion of the project.
There were further challenges on this project including 24-hour security at the entrance to the studios. Due to a high volume of foot traffic coming and going all day through the studios entrance, logistics of deliveries and waste removal was a big consideration, especially with many actors attending the site. Again, demonstrating our forward thinking approach, and stringent health and safety standards, we organised meetings and set up a weekly ‘catch up’ with the security staff to arrange the most suitable days and times for deliveries.
Weekly lists were made of operatives attending site and passed to the security guards so that passes could be organised for all operatives attending site.
The scope of works for this project involved a complete strip out of the existing Rushes Bar, removing the bar shutter, entrance doors and internal doors. In addition, the entire back bar, bar tops and F,F&E were removed and disposed of offsite. All flooring throughout was removed and floor preparations were made to allow for the new ceramic floor tiles. Health and safety is at the forefront of everything we strive for at Murray & Willis and therefore, due to access, temporary barriers were used to section off part of the pathway to keep segregation between us and the public whilst carrying out the bulk of demolition works.
Once the demolition of the existing bar was completed, we then began the fit-out. This project consisted of high-end luxury joinery items that were bespoke for this project. The client wanted to create a luxurious area, where they could host high-end parties as well as a quiet place that staff, actors and the general public could come for relaxation time between sets and work. Therefore, joinery items were designed to meet these requirements. It was also paramount to keep the heart and soul of Elstree Studios history at the centre of the design, where items of merchandise were incorporated into the final design. We supplied and installed new bespoke bar tops, bespoke main entrance doors, back bar units, two new TV feature walls as well as racking to create an entrance way into the new space. As well as joinery items, Murray & Willis installed a new lighting scheme throughout, new suspended ceilings above the bar, new small power requirements as well as a chiller fridge where the café could store cold refreshments and food. The bar was then tiled to give it a fantastic high-end finish.
Whilst on site, there were challenges that we faced. Firstly, when we carried out our initial survey, we realised that the existing fire doors and partitions were not up to the correct fire standards. Due to this, we liaised with a fire health and safety specialist who attended site and carried out a report before the works commenced. This was done in a matter of days so not to disrupt the programme in any way. Once the report had been issued, Murray & Willis rectified all issues raised and the project continued smoothly. The second issue that arose on site was the demolition of the existing entrance. Due to the client wanting to recreate the entrance of the bar, we were instructed to remove the existing porch and supply and install a new canopy instead. Once demolitions began to the porch, it was quickly noticed by our in-house site manager that there were structural steels in situ. We quickly engaged a structural engineer and within days had the steels removed safely and in a timely fashion to ensure that the programme and handover date did not slip. This was an unforeseen problem that we could not have envisaged, however, the problem was dealt with immediately and safely, again demonstrating our proactive approach to solving problems on site. Once the steels had been removed, we made good all alterations that needed to be made before installing a new canopy above the main entrance doorway.
Finally, to complete the transformation, we used our own in-house decorating team to transform the entire bar, including spraying the existing soffit. During the project the client asked us to get involved with the procurement of the F,F&E as they had been let down. We quickly employed one of our trusted F,F&E suppliers to source and install the tables, high tables, chairs and bar stools to create the fantastic finished bar. This project was completed to an extremely high standard and as such we are in further negotiations about additional work for the client in the future.
“On behalf of all at Elstree Studios, we are delighted with the work conducted by Murray & Willis on our new bar. The team went above and beyond to ensure that the project was delivered on time and on budget in a professional manner. Their communication was excellent and they approached challenges faced with a can do attitude. We thoroughly enjoyed working with Murray & Willis on this project.”
Chris Denmead, Managing Director – Elstree Studios
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Units 4 & 5, Cannock Wood Industrial Estate
Cannock Wood Street, Rawnsley, near Cannock,
Staffordshire, WS12 0PL
Business Design Centre, Suite 111A,
52 Upper Street, Islington, London, N1 0QH