Case study: Breathing new life into the old Department Store, Brixton

The Department Store is an impressive re-imagining of a heritage building in Brixton. Built in 1906 as part of the old Bon Marche department store, this year it was part of an extensive redevelopment project by Squire and Partners. 
 
An old building with a unique character that had to be kept, refurbishment presented quite a challenge for contractors on-site. Despite this, the finished product was outstanding, and resulted in RSE Building Services winning this year’s Electrical Industry Award for Electrical Project of the Year. 
 
Here, Managing Director Russell Stilwell tells us how RSE made their client’s vision a reality and entrusted BEW as the primary electrical product supplier for this tricky project.

Q. What was your brief for the project? 

A. The brief was to carry out services, including co-ordination of all MEP services, lighting installation and a Building Management System, while creating minimal disruption to the existing fabric of the building. It was imperative that the existing historic character of the building was retained. 
 
As a result, RSE Building Services employed a variety of innovative services and technology, including Faro Point Cloud Scanning, Trimble RTS Setting Out and a fully coordinated 3D Revit Model

Q. How did you first get involved with the development?

A. We were asked to tender through Squire & Partners’ market testing department. After a successful tender, we were chosen to carry out these services and work began.

Q. What was the biggest challenge during installation?

A. There were a few. Throughout the course of the project, the client instigated eight major design changes. This had the potential to delay the scheduled 52 week project by an estimated 12 months. 
 
Despite this, the project was fully planned and completed only six months behind schedule, thanks to our team’s wealth of experience. Alongside this delay, we also faced the challenge of converting the client’s unique vision into a reality.
 
We also successfully coordinated a crane lift to lift 16 condensers and a chiller onto a plant platform on the roof. This included implementing a road closure, resulting in minimal disruption. 

Q. What products were used and where were they sourced?

A. The main supplier was BEW Electrical Distributors. The team at the Ilford branch were a huge help, especially in overcoming issues that inevitably occur with projects of this size and complexity.
 
The products from BEW included Pemsa containment, cables, face plates, lights and switches for connection units.

Q. Were there any products that helped you overcome obstacles, or made the project easier?

A. We provided millimetre accurate scans for every installation. That included lights, air-conditioning units and CCTV systems. This ensured that every installation was fitted aesthetically, including the creation of a bespoke power pole system made with 67mm brass and copper parts. 

Q. The building is used for a wide range of different purposes across the space – did you need to create different ‘areas’ that were distinct from one another (especially in terms of lighting)?

A. Yes, the lighting within the building varied depending on the area of the building, meaning that we had to create a number of different lighting systems including a controlled lighting system.

Q. What’s your verdict on the project?

A. I am very proud to have been a part of this project and to have won an award already. It’s always rewarding to
see the client using the services that we installed and to see them enjoying it. 
 
 
If you need support with a project, large or small, BEW are here to help. Our Branch teams are product experts, and our on-site delivery means that you can get what you need for the job, when you need it. Drop in to your local BEW branch for more information today.