RAF Museum Hendon

Hendon, London

CLIENT: Royal Air Force Museum
ARCHITECT: Nex Architecure
VALUE: £1,795,000

This project, completed by our General Contracts Division and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, formed part of the museums larger capital transformation programme to mark the RAF’s centenary in 2018. Works over 41 weeks saw Building 52, a 1930’s former Officers Mess, dramatically transformed to create a 170-seat visitors restaurant.

When our site team took occupation Building 52 was semi-derelict having stood unoccupied since 1987. Works began with the demolition of 90% of the internal walls in order to make way for the new layout which now features a commercial kitchen, function room, toilets, office space and restaurant/dining area.

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 were then analysed to determine the concentration of airborne particles and work methods adjusted accordingly to mitigate any potential risk to construction staff.

Following demolition works a specialist shot blasting contractor carried our the next stage of works. 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 remaining walls and existing trusses were blasted, stripping them back, smoothing the surface and removing any paint or rust. This approach allowed existing elements to be retained and restored, receiving a new lease of life and becoming prominent feature in the final design.

All windows and roofing were also replaced including newly installed automatic Velux roof windows which help to flood the spaces with natural light. Existing non functional roof cowls were removed, cleaned, repainted and reinstalled, further helping to ensure the building original character and aesthetic were preserved.

Careful segregation measures and strict delivery and plant operation procedures allowed the museum to remain open and unaffected throughout for the 350,000+ visitors it attracts each year.

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