Master Builder of the Year 2007 - Category 5 National Winner
Category 5 - Commercial
New build or refurbishment of a commercial building costing less than £3 million
Project: Fern Court Business Centre Renovation of a former joiners' workshop to create 10 office/work space units
Client: John & Sam Turner, Lancashire
The creation of Fern Court Business Centre is a classic tale of producing success out of adversity, and the skilled and patient work of Craig Meadows Building Contractors played no small part in this success.
The project to transform a derelict former joinery workshop sited in a narrow lane at the foot of Clitheroe Castle, was conceived by independent financial advisor John Turner and his wife Sam when he was looking for his own business premises. Finding nothing available to rent, he secured a Rural Lancashire Development Grant towards the cost of renovating this unpromising site to create 10 high quality offices, serviced by kitchens, a meeting room and a managed reception.
John was surprised when both the architect and regeneration body suggested he use a large out-of-town contractor. As the project was designed to give small businesses an opportunity to trade in the town centre, he was keen to use local labour. He knew of Craig Meadows and had seen his work. Following discussions on site with Craig and his colleague Craig Nadin, he knew he could work with them. Which was just as well, as John had already moved his IFA business into part of the derelict building and would operate from there throughout the 12 month restoration project.
Said John: "Although Craig had not worked on a commercial site before, he had good ideas about how to tackle the practicalities of the difficult site. The restricted access required both ingenuity to get plant in and working on site, as well as endless patience in offloading vehicles from the road and in fostering good relationships with businesses in neighbouring properties.
"From the start, both Craigs were very flexible in their thinking and able to work around problems and provide solutions. Just weeks into the project, three large garages that were to be refurbished as part of the works, had to be demolished and completely rebuilt as the gable ends were falling down. They took it all in their stride."
The challenging site presented a further problem. The walls of the lower ground floor are formed by the hard limestone rock on which Clitheroe Castle sits. Not only did they require tanking to prevent damp penetration, it was also no mean task to create the depth of foundations required by the building inspector using the tiny digger the site could accommodate.
But the hard work paid off. Said John: "Having lived through every day of the project, I can honestly say there was never a cross word exchanged. Everyone says what a wonderful job Craig has done and at our official opening, 90% of the units were already let."