On site at the Royal Air Force Museum Hendon

Our General Contracts team have been on site at RAF Museum Hendon since January 2017. The exciting £1.4m project will see Building 52, a 1930s former Officers Mess dramatically refurbished and transformed to create a 170-seat visitors restaurant.

The scheme, which is Heritage Lottery Funded, forms part of the museums larger capital transformation programme to mark the RAF’s centenary in 2018. Several other buildings on site are also currently undergoing works.

When our site team took occupation Building 52 was semi-derelict having stood unoccupied since 1987. Every existing internal wall except one were demolished to make way for the new layout which will include a seating area, commercial kitchen and toilet blocks.

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Early stages of demolition works within an area that will become dining space

Due to existing, potentially hazardous lead based paint throughout the structure, silica and lead monitors were fitted around the building for the first few days of demolition works. Samples taken were then analysed to determine the concentration of airborne particles and work methods were adjusted accordingly to mitigate any potential risk to construction staff.

All internal demolitions were completed a few weeks ago which allowed a specialist shot blasting contractor to recently begin the next stage. Shot blasting is a process of forcibly propelling a stream of abrasive material, in this case copper slag, against a surface under high pressure. The internal face of all external walls and existing steel roof trusses will be blasted, stripping them back, smoothing the surface and removing any paint or rust. This approach allows existing elements to be retained and restored, receiving a new lease of life and becoming prominent features in the restaurants final design.

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Existing walls are being transformed as the shot blasters work their way around the building.

Additional future works include the replacement of all flooring, roofing and windows, internal decorations and the installation of new mechanical and electrical services to serve the new facility. Careful segregation measures and strict delivery and plant operation procedures in place have allowed the museum to remain open and unaffected for the 350,000+ visitors it attracts each year.

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An artist’s impression of the final build

We are working in partnership with Architects Nex Architecture and consultants Ridge & Partners to deliver the scheme which is due for completion in summer 2017.

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