Oakdene Finishes Ltd wins Dulux Connect Project Award for Project Management

Farnborough-based Oakdene Finishes Ltd is a well-deserved recipient of the Dulux Connect Project Award for Project Management. The team received the accolade for their role as principal decorators on the £1 billion transformation of the Old War Office in London’s Whitehall. 

A substantial project encompassing painting, decorating, and polishing, the Oakdene Finishes Ltd team used their expert knowledge and experience of producing high-end work to ensure the efficient and safe delivery of the project. They worked closely with Dulux Trade and Dulux Decorator Centre to ensure the correct paint specification and timely deliveries. 

The scope of works
Considered an architectural masterpiece of the Edwardian age, the Old War Office building is spread over 770,000 square feet. It was built in 1906, using 26,000 tons of Portland stone, 3,000 tons of York stone, hundreds of thousands of Roman cube mosaics and more than 26 million bricks. 

Working with contractor Ardmore Group on this prestigious central London property, the Oakdene Finishes Ltd team has spent over three years on the site, with completion expected by mid-2023. The contract involved the sensitive restoration of the Grade II listed historic property - to include a 125-room, world-class Raffles Hotel which has seven floors below ground and seven floors above. 85 luxury residences have also been constructed and they range from studios up to five-bedroom apartments. There are also nine restaurants, three bars, a swimming pool, spa, gym, and ballroom. 


The importance of teamwork

Operating on site with up to 120 painters, decorators and polishers at its peak, the project raised several challenges along the way - including working throughout a global pandemic. On a site so huge the team were able to continue with certain elements of the job, whilst keeping a safe two metre distance from colleagues. 

However, supply chain and labour issues faced across other elements of the refurbishment meant Oakdene Finishes Ltd had to stay agile. The team amended the programme as required to ensure progress continued. 


The specification

Protecting the building’s Heritage status was a huge priority. The Oakdene Finishes Ltd team worked closely with Ardmore Group to guarantee that areas of significant heritage were protected, and original features maintained. They also ensured that everything was completed safely and adhered to the tight project timeline. 

Dulux Trade provided most materials for the project, with Oakdene Finishes Ltd using a wide range of paints including Vinyl and Diamond as well as a number of Weathershield, Metalshield, Mouldshield products where more specialist paints were needed. 

Speaking about the materials used, Dan Higgs, Managing Director at Oakdene Finishes Ltd, said: “We recommended Dulux Trade for the specification, as we knew it would provide a quality product, with consistent availability at a good price. We worked alongside the Dulux Trade team from the beginning of the project - and several members of the team attended site to ensure the specification could meet the client’s decorative requirements. Dulux Trade assisted with colour matching to the original specifications, and provided quality products that ensured the high-end finish throughout the building.

“With Covid causing material shortages across the UK, the Dulux Trade sales representatives and Dulux Decorator Centre team were incredibly helpful in sourcing the right products from across the UK for our use.”

Preparation is key

Working with contractor Ardmore Group on this prestigious central London property, the Oakdene Finishes Ltd team has spent over three years on the site, with completion expected by mid-2023. The contract involved the sensitive restoration of the Grade II listed historic property - to Prior to applying the Dulux Trade products, surfaces needed to be correctly prepared. This took hundreds of man hours and included the safe removal of layers of lead paint in some areas (due to the age of the building) and ensuring that any stripped features still fitted the property’s aesthetic once complete. 

As well as painting, the project also required miles of wallcovering, and restoration to century old oak panelling. 


An award-winning project

Given the scale of the restoration and the number of workers involved, exemplary project management was a must. Daily planning and review sessions, a clear stakeholder management process and effective manpower, resource and material scheduling were all implemented. 

The Dulux Connect Project Award judges praised Oakdene Finishes Ltd for the use of technology to support the first-class running of the project. As well as on-site communication via handheld radio devices, WhatsApp was used to connect the various trade teams involved and allow supervisors to easily communicate with the head office. On top of this, the use of a bespoke digital project management software allowed for live internal and external reviews, management of resources and the support of cost reporting (including invoicing and employee pay). 

“It was one of the largest renovation works in Europe” continued Dan Higgs. “The refurbishment had to be carefully planned and managed from day one to ensure timely delivery and the proper restoration of rooms and features. The sheer scale of the project meant that we had to have a clear and robust plan and timeline throughout so that we could deliver. Our work at the Old War Office has led to more business for us, which is the ultimate sign of client satisfaction.” 

Feedback on the completed areas has been very positive from Ardmore Group, with the building on track to be finished by summer 2023. Oakdene Finishes Ltd has since received more projects from Ardmore Group, including the redevelopment of Chelsea Barracks and Cambridge House. 

To find out more about Oakdene Finishes Ltd, visit: www.oakdenefinishes.co.uk.

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