Thursday, 28th September 2017
Our trainees helping to build a future
The 2017 trip to Swaziland for the “Build A Future” project run by All Out Africa, consisted of Amy Arnold, Andrew Provost, Benny Feddon, Jack Duggan, James Ananthakumar, James Buchan, Ollie Davis and Erica Denman.
Prior to departure the team raised £5,487 for the trip. Some of this money was donated to All Out Africa, some spent on materials for the building project and the rest was spent on books, shoes, stationary and toys for donation to the kids at the NCPs. Over the past 13 years, All Out Africa, their superb builder Michael and an army of volunteers, have built six Neighbourhood Care Points (NCPs). These are mostly in rural areas and serve as a centre for local orphaned and vulnerable kids to come and eat, play and get pre-school education. Each NCP has a classroom, toilets and kitchens with the larger ones having play areas and shelters. Women from the local community teach the kids every morning and are often assisted by volunteers from around the world through All Out Africa. There are now about three hundred kids attending such NCPs.
THE TOUR – A RECAP FROM TOUR LEADER, ERICA DENMAN:
Our time at London Heathrow was considerably improved by the appearance of Jack and Ollie who had schlepped halfway across London with their own suitcases plus two huge, and somewhat rickety, bags of the sort preferred by your market trader peddling goods on the street and not at all suitable for a long haul flight! After repacking their items for donation into more secure cases we checked in and settled down for an eleven hour flight to Johannesburg followed by a four hour bus transfer to Swaziland. The boredom of the transfer was alleviated somewhat by a cheeky Nandos located by a watering hole where, among other things, zebras, rhinos, wildebeast and ostriches were drinking, or perhaps just watching us at the equivalent of our watering hole?
Our first day consisted of an introduction to the project we would be working on, followed by a walking tour of the local area and finishing with a braai in the village. For the first time in four years this trip took place in September which meant we could witness the Reed Dance. All the women in Swaziland are invited to attend the Reed Dance where they sing, dance and carry a bunch of reeds in a huge parade for the King. During this ceremony the King can then choose his bride for the year. There are conflicting reports but he currently has between eleven and fifteen wives.
After this unique introduction to Swaziland, we started work at the Nkhanini NCP. In 2015 a Walter Lilly group started the construction of the classroom, kitchen, shelter and toilets here. By 2017 three of those buildings were finished, along with some swings and a seesaw, and about 15 local kids are regularly attending classes. Our task for this trip was to complete the shelter for the kids to eat and play in during their morning break. Given that the temperatures were averaging 35 – 37 degrees I am not sure if we, or the kids, were looking forward to the completed shelter more!
The team were exceedingly pleased to see that the foundations had already been dug by the 2015 group, but in two years a lot of grass had grown, so we still had quite a job clearing the trenches and removing the top layer of soil (it hasn’t rained in seven months so the ground was quite compact). By mid morning we had a beautiful surface on which to start the build. We mixed up the first batch of concrete (using spades and wheelbarrows only) for the foundations and then laid our first few lines of blocks.
Using a string line and tape measure (who needs paperwork, setting out and datums?) we set out the timber posts which would hold the roof. We then placed them in blocks, poured concrete around the posts and set up a cunning arrangement of pickaxes, rakes and blocks to hold everything in place whilst the concrete dried.
By the end of day two we had made good progress with the blocks (some hidden talents in bricklaying were discovered) and, more importantly, our concrete mixes were improving in quality – as we discovered the ideal consistency looks much like a runny cow pat.
Next up was levelling the ground to create a pathway around the building. Cue some impressive / sweaty pickaxe action from the boys, with a well earned rest after.
By day four we had finished the walls and started on the roof. We constructed the structure of the roof with timber beams then nailed down sheets of corrugated iron to finish.
The roof was up, walls were done, now it was time for the weekend where we would be staying up in the hills in a nature reserve called Malolotja. Our Saturday night started with a beautiful sunset and finished around a bonfire and huge barbeque, all setting us up nicely for our zip lining trip on the Sunday.
On Monday we started levelling the floor inside our shelter, laying the blocks for the seats and laid a smooth finish to the walls. A full on debate, with Benny as our model, followed when it was discovered we could layout the seating any which way we wanted.
On Tuesday the kids were at the NCP for the start of their new term…they welcomed us with constant cuddles and we then handed out shoes, sunglasses, books, pens and paper. There were some toys in our goody bags but by far the most popular gifts were the bubbles (and not just with the kids). Other popular activities included climbing all over us at every opportunity, wearing our sunglasses and having their picture taken.
Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons saw us at Homework Club. This has been running for a couple of years now and gives the kids a chance to go through their reading and maths in a more structured environment than that which they might have at home. Or indeed, simply a chance to challenge (and beat) Jack to some press-ups.
By the end of the two weeks we had completed the structure, with rather fetching seating and a gravel floor finish. Our last task was the Walter Lilly logo which was beautifully crafted by the team using a t-shirt, ruler, block of wood and some stones. Everyone can be very proud of their hard work in sweltering conditions (an African heatwave puts ours to shame). The team worked exceptionally well together to produce another fine build, completed ahead of schedule and with some very happy clients to boot!
For more photos of the trip, visit our facebook or flikr page.
Wednesday, 27th September 2017
Team 1 takes home HQR trophy
On Thursday 7th September, Walter Lilly hit the track for our 7th consecutive year of the Cyclothon, a 12 hour relay race at Brands Hatch.
Our friends from Price and Myers, Building Services Design, Darling Associates and Slender Winter Partnership joined our internal cycling enthusiasts to form two teams of six.
With an early 6:30am start for the safety briefing, the action started at 7:30am with Mark Cope and Dean Hollingsworth as our starting cyclists. The weather stayed somewhat in everyone’s favour with only a short shower later in the afternoon, however the air temperature was fresh!
With an impressive 99 laps and an overall distance of 240.867 miles completed, Team 1 ended the day in second place overall. Team 2 placed 12th overall against 23 other teams, cycling 209.238 miles and completing 86 laps.
With an increase in fellow HQR cyclists entering their own teams, this year marked the inaugural HQR Cyclothon Cup. Now a competition within itself, we were up against our friends from Darke and Taylor, TMJ, BTP and Fusion Automation. With our very own Team 1 crossing the line first Walter Lilly took out first place, taking home the HQR trophy.
Overall another successful day out on the track for everyone and we look forward to the next!
Visit our facebook or flikr page for more shots of the actions.
Friday, 23rd June 2017
School kids experience a day in construction
On Tuesday 13th June, a group of Year 6 students from the Oasis Academy Byron in Coulson visited the Walter Lilly head office in East Croydon to spend the day learning and working as a team in construction.
Organised by Enabling Enterprise, the students have engaged in a range of projects, including designing and launching a new chocolate brand and designing a transport prototype that would be suitable for the year 3030!
So far this year, students have completed the Future Transport challenge day, when they researched, designed, built and tested innovative new forms of transport. A visit to Walter Lilly was a chance for the Year 6 students to venture out of school to apply skills such as Aiming High and Working in a Team.
Six Walter Lilly staff from different departments of the company, including Managing Director Andrew Crispin, joined Oasis Academy Byron students for the day, supporting them in their construction-themed challenge.
The kids were set with a task to address the area of Bogsby which has an empty brownfield site in the centre of the community. The challenge was to redevelop the land and create a space that would benefit the local people and the environment. Before sharing ideas and deciding on what they were going to construct, teams needed to look at the needs of the people of Bogsby and ensure that the new development was environmentally friendly. After building a model of their planned building, the teams ended the day by presenting their ideas to a judging panel of Walter Lilly and Enabling Enterprise staff.
Students wowed their teachers with their ability to work in teams with students they wouldn’t normally sit with. They developed their Listening Carefully skills by taking notes and asking questions about what they’d heard the volunteers say. They also demonstrated great Using Imagination skills when developing ideas for the redevelopment.
What they said:
“Today was a great experience for our students: seeing how different departments work together in a business and how ‘Sketch-up’, a programme we use in school, is used by professionals. It was great for them to find out what the professionals at Walter Lilly wanted to be when they were in primary school and how they got to where they are today. The structure and pace of the challenge was well suited and I have loved seeing how the skills of this class have improved since they first started Enabling Enterprise in Year 3.” – Teacher, Oasis Academy Byron
“I found the day really interesting and enjoyable. It was impressive how quickly the students grasped the tasks and challenges and the enthusiasm they showed. The best bit was seeing how they pulled together to create a 3D model in less than 20 minutes!” – Andrew, Managing Director, Walter Lilly
“The best things today was making our model, the hardest thing was presenting at the end. I feel I learned a lot about building.” – Student, Oasis Academy Byron
Thanks to Walter Lilly for such a great trip day, and to Year 6 from Oasis Academy Byron for coming along.
Enabling Enterprise are working in partnership with schools and businesses to support students to build enterprise skills and aspirations. Find out more by contacting us or visiting enablingenterprise.org
Wednesday, 5th April 2017
Notting Hill project team recognised for their considerate efforts
The site team of Walter Lilly’s Notting Hill project were recently recognised for their efforts towards a considerate site, winning silver at the Considerate Constructors Scheme 2017 National Site Awards.
The site team, led by Project Manager Colin Williams, were at the awards ceremony to proudly collect their silver award which recognises the team’s effort and commitment to improving the image of construction, adhering to the Scheme’s five-point Code of Considerate Practice: appearance; community; environment; safety and their workforce.
The project involves the alteration and substantial refurbishment of two houses to create a single 9,867sq ft residence behind a retained façade. Works also include an extended new basement for a swimming pool.
The Considerate Constructors Scheme is a non-profit-making, independent organisation founded in 1997 by the construction industry to improve its image.
Wednesday, 1st February 2017
Following on from the huge success of 2016’s inaugural HQR Summer Ball, held at the Grosvenor House Hotel and attended by many of the biggest names in London’s high quality residential construction sector, a new charity, ‘HQR London Charitable Trust’, has now been established.
The new charity will aim to raise as much money as possible from clients and specialist companies working in London’s high quality residential sector, and then distributing those funds to worthy charities which are close to the hearts of its members.
Initial plans for the charity focus on 2017’s Summer Ball, which is confirmed as Saturday 17th June, again at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel. Like last year it promises to be a truly memorable night and a great opportunity to meet many of the key players in the sector, while also supporting some very worthy charities. Tables for the event are selling fast and interested firms should visit the charity’s website www.hqrondon.co.uk to book their table, before the event sells out.
Funds raised on the night will be given to two charities, The Lighthouse Club and YoungMinds. Last year’s Ball raised over £54,000 and it is anticipated that this year’s event will be even more successful.
Further fund raising events are being planned, as the charity looks to build on its early success over the coming years, whilst also providing unrivalled networking opportunities at its functions.
HQR founder Andrew Crispin, Managing Director of Walter Lilly, has been joined by Darren Size of Sizebreed Group, to become the initial trustees of the new charity. Importantly, the charity will have no running costs, as these costs are being covered by the trustee’s firms. This means that 100% of the money raised will go to the nominated charities, which both believe is hugely important.
The plan is to add further trustees as the charity becomes established, with the aim of spreading the reach of the charity across the high end sector in which these firms specialise. Anyone interested in becoming involved should contact HQR London, via its website, expressing your interest in helping Andrew and Darren to further the charity’s work.
For further information please contact Kelly Gower, Event Organiser at HQR London.
Tuesday, 31st January 2017
Walter Lilly showcased in Guild News
In October 2016, Walter Lilly became a member of The Guild of Master Craftsmen. The membership demonstrates to the industry and our clients the high standard of quality that Walter Lilly deliver.
The Guild of Master Craftsmen continues a long established tradition of bringing together skilled artisans engaged in a trade, craft or profession in order to safeguard the interests of the public and ensure they receive a premium service from recommended tradesmen. All members of the Guild are thoroughly assessed to earn the right to be called master craftsmen. Once accepted into membership, they are required to maintain and uphold the Guild’s stringent professional criteria.
Click here to read Walter Lilly’s feature in the February edition.
Friday, 11th November 2016
Walter Lilly wins at the Building Awards 2016
Walter Lilly are the proud winners of the Building Awards 2016 ‘Contractor of the Year’ (up to £300m) category, which was awarded on Tuesday 8 November at the Grosvenor House Hotel.
The Building Awards has long been recognised as the most prestigious networking event in the built environment calendar and the 22nd edition was no exception.
The judge’s had great things to say about Walter Lilly. “This 90 year old London-based contractor not only has a great name in high end projects, often involving sensitive heritage buildings, but produced a stellar financial performance this year too. Revenue has more than doubled in the last three years, with profit rising in line with growth. But it was not only the stats – which also showed steady staff growth and ballooning repeat business – that impressed the judges. Nor was it the prestigious clients.. It was that Walter Lilly combined all this with a focus on client needs. In customer surveys, 100% of its clients said they’d recommend the firm to others and 86% rated it as better than its competitors. A low staff churn rate and commitment to sustainability shows it is an employer that cares about a good working environment, and its support for construction students at Loughborough University shows its willingness to invest in the next generation.”
Walter Lilly’s Managing Director, Andrew Crispin, was there on the night to collect the award. “This award is a testament to the incredible team at Walter Lilly and to the company’s commitment to quality & excellence.”
Walter Lilly’s Newport Street Gallery project has been very successful after recently being awarded the coveted RIBA Stirling Prize, the UK’s most prestigious architecture award. The project was also significantly commended at the 2016 Brick Awards winning three separate categories; Supreme Award, Best Public Building, Specialist Brickwork Contractor of the Year and Craftsmanship Award. Walter Lilly were responsible for the extremely challenging construction of the gallery, designed by architect Caruso St. John.
Monday, 31st October 2016
35 Marylebone High Street celebrates topping out
Walter Lilly were recently invited by our Client, W1 London Limited to attend the topping out ceremony of our 35 Marylebone High Street project.
Following a very complex temporary works and demolition sequence and the construction of the new double basement and challenging concrete frame construction the Client and our team were keen to mark the occasion of reaching roof level.
W1 London Limited invited guests to witness the ceremony and their Managing Director David Easson said a few words before handing over to their Chairman and principal funder Sir Peter Wood. Walter Lilly’s Managing Director, Andrew Crispin, gave a quick speech enlightening guests on the history behind the significance of a topping ceremony. The official ‘topping out’ ceremony itself was then conducted, with Senior Project Manager Bob Byrne assisting Sir Peter to trowel in the final bed of concrete into a hole left in the roof slab, before Andrew Crispin presented Sir Peter with an engraved silver trowel to commemorate the occasion.
For Walter Lilly, the tradition of topping out is something we are always keen to preserve. Whilst it formally marks a significant stage in any project, more than anything else it announces and celebrates that someone’s vision has become reality and that a worthwhile job has been well done by everyone involved.
On completion, the project will see a total of 19 apartments and 5 townhouses completed with high-end luxury finishes throughout.
Tuesday, 11th October 2016
A Caruso St. John designed project
Walter Lilly are delighted that Newport Street Gallery is the winner of the coveted 2016 RIBA Stirling Prize, the UK’s most prestigious architecture award. Walter Lilly were responsible for the construction of the gallery, designed by architect Caruso St. John.
RIBA President Jane Duncan applauded Damian Hirst for creating ‘an exceptional contribution to the UK’s strong history of private patronage of architecture. Not only has Damien opened up his enviable private collection to the world, but he has commissioned a real work of art to house it in.’
Described as ‘a bold and confident contribution to the best of UK architecture’ by the Stirling Prize judges, they went on to say ‘Caruso St. John’s approach to conservation is irreverent yet sensitive and achieves a clever solution that expresses a poetic juxtaposition of old and new.’
‘The collection of buildings is beautifully curated, pulled together by the use of brick yet still expressive of their individuality. The playful use of LED technology gives a temporary addition to the façade.’
‘Internally, the five buildings are connected as a continuous and coherent sequence of light filled gallery spaces. The simple and logical circulation is enlivened by exquisitely detailed and sensuous staircases.’
Damian Hirst said Newport Gallery had ‘realised [his] ambition to create an unobtrusive and beautiful series of buildings that work perfectly as a space to exhibit great art. I am immensely proud of what we achieved and the reaction it has received in its first year of opening,”
Walter Lilly’s unique approach to high quality construction suited the conversion of three listed Victorian industrial buildings and the construction of two new buildings into one gallery space.
News stories of the award here:
The Architects’ Journal
Monday, 12th September 2016
Two teams cross the line after a 12 hour endurance relay race
Walter Lilly entered two teams of six riders in their sixth consecutive year of the Cyclothon UK, held at Brands Hatch on Thursday 8 September.
It was an early morning start for the teams with a 6:30am briefing before the first cyclists crossed the starting line at 7:30am. The English weather was at its finest with a perfect sunny day, although the wind tested the rider’s endurance in addition to the uphill climbs.
After a full day of competitive racing for fourth and fifth place against another team, Team A only just missed out on fourth place with their final time at 11:56:16.4, with Team Kebbell taking the fourth, finishing two minutes ahead. With a total of 96 laps completed this meant 233 miles were covered in the 12 hours. Congratulations must go to Ian Edwards from Walter Lilly for the fastest team time of the day of 06:12.607.
Team B came in at 19th place completing an impressive 82 laps and 199 miles. The fastest team lap of the day was awarded to Dean Hollingsworth with a time of 07:25.1. A big effort from Walter Lilly’s Mike Howell who ended up having to complete four consecutive laps during his leg of the race after the pit lanes were closed to start the 8-hour racing!
Well done to Derrick Sowerby of Slender Winter Partnership and Nick Forster of W-One International who brought both teams home for the final laps of what was a very tiring day.
Our friends at TMJ Interiors and Darke and Taylor were also there on the day and put up a great race. It was fantastic to see them both there and spend another great day of friendly trackside competition.
Visit our facebook page here for photos of the day.