Built in 1929 the Pavilion on Penarth Pier in Wales was once a thriving hub of activity but more than 45 years of neglect paved the way for the Federation of Master Builders Commercial Project of the Year.
Once known as a popular dinner, dance and night club destination, the Penarth Pier Pavilion slipped into a state of disrepair in the sixties and required a sizable fundraising effort by a local charity organisation, Penarth Arts and Crafts (PACL), a project that started in 2006.
Jutting out almost 200m into the Bristol Channel the pier is an ideal location for the needs of the PACL and vital to the community. The art deco themed building now houses an art gallery, a learning space, a cinema, a cafe and restaurant and a meeting room.
David Trotman, Pavilion Director, describes the modernised establishment as an asset to the South Wales community. He goes on: "I think the number of national awards already given to the Pavilion is proof of what an excellent project we have here. In the first 10 months the Pavilion has become the centre and heart of the community in South Wales."
Winning the project in a very competitive tender process the grand refurbishment went under the experienced control of David Challenger at R&M Williams.
During the refurbishment the pier was still required to cater for the incomings and outgoings of the steam ship "The Waverly". This meant that although serious work was to be taking place, David and his team had to accommodate and work around this and several businesses that had to remain open to the public.
The Pavilion was completed in November 2013 and opened to the public in early 2014 and although on time and within budget the project was not always smooth sailing.
More than 50 tonnes of structural steel was needed to repair the external construction of the Pavilion. Early surveying by the R & M Williams team concluded that the floor level was running out by 360mm and the timeworn vaulted roof structure was not true. This meant that many of the steel beams, though precast, had to be cut on site and pieced together like a giant mechano set.
"To get everything in place we had to build a tower system and place everything piece by piece," David described. "It was a great project; I don't think that I will ever come across another project more rewarding personally than this. I would hope that I do, but I just don't think so."