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Severn Trent Water – Sherborne House Refurbishment

J Tomlinson partnered with Severn Trent Water to deliver two refurbishment contracts totalling to £3m across three live utilities sites.


Severn Trent Water




February 2019 - Ongoing

Summary of works

- Extensive HVAC works

- Fire safety upgrade

- Office refurbishment

- Whole life costing

- Designing solutions

- Collaborative working

Project Background

J Tomlinson has partnered with Severn Trent Water to deliver two refurbishment contracts, totalling £3m across three live utilities sites.

These live schemes commenced in February 2019 and are being delivered concurrently by J Tomlinson’s commercial refurbishment and maintenance services divisions. Both projects have a key focus on upgrading energy efficiency levels across the three buildings, which will be achieved through tailored in-house mechanical and electrical engineering solutions, implemented by J Tomlinson to help each site ensure consistency among its operating systems.

Unexpected Project Challenges 

We were originally awarded the contract to replace 10 HVAC units, however following a pre-commencement survey, our site management team identified the following on-site errors:

  • 12 existing HVAC units were identified as being redundant or expired and needed replacing.
  • The previous contractor had failed to install housing support for the in-ceiling electrical cable work, which posed as an electrical health and safety with trailing wires.
  • The pre-contracted designer had failed to design in the door bulkheads for the new kitchenette, leaving a gap above the internal doors and ceiling and with no structural support.

A further joint site survey with the client allowed us to highlight these inaccuracies to the client. We provided an option appraisal report detailing the rectification. The client welcomed the options to rectification and we jointly agreed the variation to our contract, instructing us to undertake the additional work.

J Tomlinson Solution

Proactive Project Planning 

Given the variation in the contract and the additional electrical and HVAC work for Sherborne House, we have agreed to extend the working day from an 8 hour shift to 12 hours shifts to ensure we can achieve the contracted completion date. Our Contract Manager, Neil Elsmore and Site Manager, Aidan Hawkins worked together to update the project programme to allow for the additional works . Together they have identified opportunities for work to be completed earlier, for example our approach to install two out of four air conditioning units within the Comms Room, earlier than programmed minimised their overall operational risks, which was welcomed by STW.

Additional resource

With the extended electrical and HVAC works, we doubled the specialist tradesmen on-site through the use of our established Midlands based subcontractors. Our Site Manager, Aidan Hawkins managed our sub-contractors as if they were our directly employed staff. He commenced each shift with a site briefing confirming daily KPI’s. We encouraged two-way communication during our site briefings, giving our sub-contractors an opportunity to communicate any concerns that would prevent them achieving their daily targets. This essentially enabled us to work together to remain on track against the work schedules and revised master programme.


Design Innovation 

During the installation of the partition walls for the new kitchenette, we noted the client and designers had not allowed for the wall bulkhead required to provide structural support to the doors. Our Contracts Manager, Neil Elsmore and Site Manager, Aidan Hawkins held a ‘special’ design review meeting with our Design and Build Manager, Martin Pearce, Severn Trent Water and their novated designers to design a new wall bulkhead. Our collaborative approach enabled us to find an efficient solution with a thorough review o the new designs and careful considerations on the buildability of the wall bulkhead. Together our innovative design allowed us to enhance the aesthetic finishes of the kitchenette, enabling us to achieve a levelled ceiling finish across the main room and through the kitchenette.

Project Achievements

  • COMMUNICATION WITH THIRD PARTIES – during our works, we shared the main entrance to the building with STW employees. The main entrance reception area was managed by the client’s FM contractor. In addition to our monthly progress meetings with STW and the FM contractor, we further improved our working relationship by holding weekly briefings with the FM contractor. This had allowed them to better manage our live operations namely, deliveries, inspections, and audits and visitors. Our weekly communication minimised disruption to their daily management of the premises.


  • RESTRICTED ACCESS – during our works, we were not permitted access to the welfare facilities on the ground floor of the Sherborne House. However, weekly access was required by the FM contractor to ensure that the water was within the welfare amenities would not become stagnant and the CCTV footage could be downloaded. Access to these secure areas was through our live working area. Following a communication meeting with the client and the FM contractor, we agreed to provide supervised access through our live site to these areas. Our Site Manager, Aidan Hawkins delivered a site induction and safety briefing to the FM contractor team, ensuring they were clear of the site safety rules.