These commercial clients identified an opportunity to expand their business in the busy Boucher Retail area in Belfast, one of the most successful mixed-use commercial districts in N Ireland. Being at the centre of all of the premium-branded car dealerships it was important that their new office should meet the high-end expectations of customers in this area such that when walking out of a BMW, Audi or Porsche showroom they would know they were in the same quality of business walking through the doors of our client's new office.
The trend for sharp, minimalist detailing which would be required to match the premium car brands was quite a departure for the clients who had a previously well-established style of office decor. Additionally, it was essential to agree a lease on premises, refurbish, fit out and open the new office in the shortest possible timescale – all at a time when the local building industry was traditionally closed for the annual construction holiday period.
Once a potential building was identified, 9yards conducted a full dimensional survey and produced preliminary layout proposals to show how the required number of staff and customers could be accommodated and how the premises could be brought up to current Building Regulation standards. This would include a full strip-out of existing partitions, finishes, etc and installation of disabled toilet and kitchen facilities. The extent of these works would also require landlord approval and so we liaised simultaneously with the landlord's agent and the local Building Control department.
When agreement was reached among all parties that the proposals were commercially and physically feasible lease terms were agreed and detailed work began in earnest. With no time for a tender process 9yards were further engaged to Project Manage the building process and works commenced on site immediately – on the day the local construction industry usually closed down! While building work commenced on drainage, plastering, electrical services, etc there were many decisions still to be made in terms of finishes, furniture, etc. maintaining tight control of the overall construction and fit-out programmes became essential, along with on-going budgetary control.
Regular meetings with the client, trades and suppliers, and determined perseverance on time and monetary constraints kept the project constantly on target – at times running right to the wire such as in accommodating the continental European holiday periods of the Portuguese furniture suppliers.
Commitment to the project's success from the entire team culminated in the new office being complete a full week before staff were ready to move in – a mere 11 weeks after commencement and well within budget. This office is now the flagship of the client's 14 offices in the province and is set to become the blueprint for further future expansion.
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