Celebrating construction

JMS celebrate win at East Midlands Celebrating Construction Awards

May 14, 2019 News

We are having to make more room in the JMS awards cabinet, because our work on the Grade II listed Holy Trinity Church in Leicester has been recognised by the East Midlands Celebrating Construction Awards!!

At the awards, which took place at the Nottingham Belfry on Friday, 10th May, JMS were announced as the winner in the Rejuvenation and Presentation category in front of the best in the construction industry.

How did we do it?

Rejuvenation really is the right word for what we achieved with this sympathetic structural overhaul that has seen an incredible amount of internal space opened up within the church. This includes a new and expanded kitchen area, space for their community support projects and improved wheelchair access for their regular 600 or so worshippers.

All that was done whilst diligently restoring and even uncovering much of the classic decorations that have been in place since this iconic building opened its doors in 1838. In short, it was an epic project, and one we are extremely proud to have been involved with.

Challenge

With a big price tag on the work involved, there were several very tricky hurdles to overcome before things could progress, not least loosening the purse strings of the governing funding body.

Meanwhile, the church demanded that the impact of the work on the environment needed to be minimal. Even the construction workers themselves had to contend with many logistical obstacles, not least the lack of anywhere nearby to place a skip. However, we are dab hands at contending with these issues, and our creative and innovative plans for everything from heating to lighting and insulation came into play, and we soon found ways to meet the demands of the church.

Even so, the funding body needed to see all the architectural drawings, engineering plans and planning permits before untying those purse strings. If you are familiar with our industry, you will understand that it is quite an investment of time and money to make without any guarantee the project will get the funding to go ahead.

But we are nothing if not lovers of a good structural engineering challenge, particularly when it comes to sympathetic work on a beautiful listed building, and where there is a will, there is a way.

Alongside our construction partners Mayway, we gathered everything that was required and left it in the hands of God. And sure enough His hand reached into the purse and found enough money to fund the project.

The proof is in the pudding

The amazing thing is, if you entered the church for the first time today, you would not even realise how much redevelopment work had taken place. We might have created a huge new balcony extension, but it skilfully echoes the original beams and arches, and blends right in with the older structure. The lighting may have been completely changed, but only to better illuminate the classic features of the roof that have existed for nearly two centuries.

As with many of our other projects on listed buildings, we have used state of the art technology, not to mention a big dollop of creative problem solving, to enhance, rather than overwhelm, the classic features of a beautiful building.

Reverend McGinley of the HTC Church, was enthusiastic about the end result: “We are delighted with how this project turned out. We wanted people to have confidence in this church, to feel it was somewhere they could visit and be with God. This renovation has done that, and so much more. We now have plenty of usable space throughout the entire building, rooms to help us care for the homeless during winter, and an upgraded kitchen for preparing food for public events. It is no exaggeration to say this is the biggest project we have ever taken on. And having it ready after just eight months was incredible. Every one of the 600 people who attended our re-opening was impressed with the work that JMS and their construction partners had done here.”

Our work here is done

When you are part of a redevelopment like this, it is an amazing experience in its own right. On a very practical level, we were involved in a construction project to create more internal space. But on another level, we are responsible for sustaining the heritage of a church that plays a central role in the community, and is a historic and important building that makes this city what it is.

Andy Kenyon, Director of JMS East Midlands, is hugely proud of his team “this was a challenging and demanding project, with the team coming together to problem solve under the constraints of working on a Grade II listed building.  This award reflects and celebrates the teamwork, hard work and collaboration of all parties involved. To be able to get that right is a reward in itself, but to get the nod from the award body is the icing on the cake”.

Huge congratulations to the team at JMS East Midlands – what an amazing achievement!!

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